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THE NEGRO 



IN THE 



American Rebellion 



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BY 

WILLIAM WELLS BROWN 

AUTHOR OF "SKETCHES OF PLACES AND PEOPLE ABROAD," " THE BLACK MAN," ETC 



BOSTON 
LEE & SHEPARD, 149 WASHINGTON STREET 

1867 



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by 

WILLIAM WELLS BROWN, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 



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TO 



Wendell Phillips, Esq., 



AS A TOKEN OF 



Amixntlm awdi tfkatiiutf* 



FOR HIS 

Long Devotion to the Cause of Freedom, 

AND HIS UNTIRING ADVOCACY OF 

THE EQUALITY OF THE NEGRO, 

Tern Vqlumi 

IS MOST RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED 

BY THE AUTHOR, 



PREFACE. 



Feeling anxious to preserve for future reference an 
account of the part which the Negro took in sup- 
pressing the Slaveholders' Rebellion, I have been in- 
duced to write this work. In doing so, it occurred 
to me that a sketch of the condition of the race pre- 
vious to the commencement of the war would not be 
uninteresting to the reader. 

For the information concerning the services which 
the blacks rendered to the Government in the Revolu- 
tionary War, I am indebted to the late George Liver- 
more, Esq., whose " Historical Research " is the ablest 
work ever published on the early history of the negroes 
of this country. 

In collecting facts connected with the Rebellion, I 
have availed myself of the most reliable information 
that could be obtained from newspaper correspondents, 
as well as from those who were on the battle-field. 
To officers and privates of several of the colored regi- 
ments I am under many obligations for detailed 
accounts of engagements. 



yi PREFACE. 

No doubt, errors in fact and in judgment will be dis- 
covered, which I shall be ready to acknowledge, and 
correct in subsequent editions. The work might have 
been swelled to double its present size ; but I did 
not feel bound to introduce an account of every little 
skirmish in which colored men were engaged. 

I waited patiently, before beginning this work, with 
the hope that some one more competent would take 
the subject in hand ; but, up to the present, it has not 
been done, although many books have been written 
upon the Rebellion. 

WILLIAM WELLS BROWN. 
Cambridgeport, Mass., Jan. 1, 1867. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

BLACKS IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR AND IN 1812. 

The First Cargo of Slaves landed in the Colonies in 1620. — Slave 
Kepresentation in Congress. — Opposition to the Slave-trade. — , 
Crispus Attucks, the First Victim of the Revolutionary War. — 
Bancroft's Testimony. — Capture of Gen. Prescott. — Colored Men 
in the War of 1812. — Gen. Andrew Jackson on Negro Soldiers • 1 

CHAPTER II. 

THE SOUTH-CAROLINA FRIGHT. 

Denmark Vesey, Peter Poyas, and their Companions. — The Deep-laid 
Plans. — Religious Fanaticism. — The Discovery. — The Trials. — 
Convictions. — Executions 13 

CHAPTER III. 

THE NAT TURNER INSURRECTION. 

Nat Turner. — His Associates. — Their Meetings. — Nat's Religious 
Enthusiasm. — Bloodshed. — Wide-spread Terror. — The Trials 
and Executions 19 

CHAPTER IV. 

SLAVE REVOLT AT SEA. 

Madison Washington. — His Escape from the South.— -His Love of 
Liberty. — His Return. — His Capture. — The Brig " Creole." — 
The Slave-traders. — Capture of the Vessel. — Freedom of the Op- 
pressed 26 

vii 



Vlll CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER V. 

GROWTH OF THE SLAVE-POWER. 

Introduction of the Cotton-gin. — Its Effect on Slavery. — Fugitive 
Slave Law. — Anthony Burns. — The Dred Scott Decision. — Im- 
prisonment for reading " Uncle Tom's Cabin." — Struggles with 
Slavery 37 

CHAPTER VI. 

THE JOHN BROWN RAID. 

John Brown. — His Religious Zeal. — His Hatred to Slavery. — Or- 
ganization of his Army. — Attack on Harper's Ferry. — His Exe- 
cution. — John Brown's Companions, Green and Copeland. — The 
Executions 44 

CHAPTER VII. 

THE FIRST GUN OF THE REBELLION. 

Nomination of Fremont. — Nomination of Lincoln. — The Mob Spirit. 

— Spirit of Slavery. — The Democracy. — Cotton. — Northern 
Promises to the Rebels. — Assault on Fort Sumter. — Call for 
75,000 Men. — Response of the Colored Men . . . .50 

CHAPTER VIII. 

THE UNION AND SLAVERY BOTH TO BE PRESERVED. 

Union Generals offer to suppress Slave-insurrections. — Return of 
Slaves coming into our Army . . " . . . . . .56 

CHAPTER IX. 

INTELLIGENT CONTRABANDS. 

James Lawson. — His Bravery. — Rescue of his Wife and Children. — 
He is sent out on Important Business. — He fights his Way back. 

— He is admired by Gens. Hooker and Sickles. — Rhett's Servant. 

— "Foraging for Butter and Eggs" . . . . . .60 



CONTENTS. * IX 

CHAPTER X. 

PROCLAMATIONS OF FREMONT AND HUNTER. 

Gen. Fremont's Proclamation, and its Effect on the Public Mind. — 
Gen. Hunter's Proclamation ; the Feeling it created . • .69 

CHAPTER XL 

HEROISM OF NEGROES ON THE HIGH SEAS. 

Heroism of Negroes. —William Tillman recaptures " The S. G. Wa- 
ring." — George Green. — Robert Small captures the Steamer 
" Planter." — Admiral Dupont's Opinion on Negro Patriotism . 74 

CHAPTER XII. 

GENERAL BUTLER AT NEW ORLEANS. 

Recognition of Negro Soldiers with Officers of their own Color. — 
Society in New Orleans. — The Inhuman Master. — Justice. — 
Change of Opinion. — The Free Colored Population . . .82 

CHAPTER XIII. 

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FREE. 

Emancipation in the District. — Comments of the Press. — The Good 
Result. — Recognition of Hayti and Liberia. — The Slave-trader 
Gordon . 93 

CHAPTER XIV. 

THE BLACK BRIGADE OF CINCINNATI. 

The Great Fright. — Cruel Treatment of the Colored People by the 
Police. — Bill Homer and his Roughs. — Military Training. — Col. 
Dickson. — The Work. — Mustering Out. — The Thanks . . 100 



X CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XV. 

PROCLAMATION OF FREEDOM. 

Emancipation Proclamation. — Copperhead View of it. — " Abraham, 
spare the South." — The Contrabands Rejoicing. — The Songs. — 
Enthusiasm. — Faith in God. — Negro Wit. — " Forever Free " . 109 



CHAPTER XVI. 

THE NEW POLICY. 

A New Policy announced. — Adjutant-Gen. Thomas. — Major-Gen. 
Prentiss. — Negro Wit and Humor. — Proslaveiy Correspondents. 
— Feeling in the Army. — Let the Blacks fight .... 124 

CHAPTER XVIL 

ARMING THE BLACKS. 

Department of the South. — Gen. Hunter enlisting Colored Men. — 
Letter to Gov. Andrew. — Success. — The Earnest Prayer. — The 
Negro's Confidence in God. . 130 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

BATTLE OF MILLIKEN ? S BEND. 

Contraband Regiments ; their Bravery ; the Surprise. — Hand-to-hand 
Fight. — "No Quarter." — Negroes rather die than surrender. — 
The Gtfnboat and her Dreadful Havoc with the Enemy . . . 137 

CHAPTER XIX. 

RAISING BLACK REGIMENTS AT THE NORTH. 

Prejudices at the North. — Black Laws of Illinois and Indiana. — 111 
Treament of Negroes. — The Blacks forget their Wrongs, and come 
to the Rescue 142 



CONTENTS. XI 

CHAPTER XX. 

FIFTY-FOURTH MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENT. 

Its Organization. — Its Appearance. — Col. Shaw. — Presentation of 
Colors. — Its Dress-parade. — Its Departure from Boston . . 147 

CHAPTER XXI. 

BLACKS UNDER FIRE IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 

Expedition up the St. Mary's River. — The Negroes long for a Fight. 
— Their Gallantry in Battle 159 

CHAPTER XXII. 

FREEDMEN UNDER FIRE IN MISSISSIPPI. 

Bravery of the Freedmen. — Desperation of the Rebels. — Severe Bat- 
tle. — Negroes Triumphant 163 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

BATTLE OF PORT HUDSON. 

The Louisiana Native Guard. — Capt. Callioux. — The Weather. — 
Spirit of the Troops. — The Battle begins. — " Charge." — Great 
Bravery. — The Gallant Color-bearer. — Grape, Canister, and Shell 
sweep down the Heroic Men. — Death of Callioux. — Comments . 167 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

GENERAL BANKS IN LOUISIANA. 

Gen. Banks at New Orleans. — Old Slave-laws revived. — Treatment 
of Free Colored Persons. — Col. Jonas H. French. — 111 Treatment 
at Port Hudson 177 



Xll CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XXV. 

HONORS TO THE NOBLE DEAD. 

Capt. Andre Callioux. — His Body lies in State. — Personal Appear- 
ance. — His Enthusiasm. — His Popularity. — His Funeral. — The 
great Respect paid the Deceased. — General Lamentation . .186 

CHAPTER XXVI. 

THE NORTHERN WING OF THE REBELLION. 

The New- York Mob. — Murder, Fire, and Robbery. — The City given 
up to the Rioters. — Whites and Blacks robbed in Open Day in 
the Great Thoroughfares. — Negroes murdered, burned, and their 
Bodies hung on Lamp-posts. — Southern Rebels at the Head of the 
Riot . . . 192 

CHAPTER XXVII. 

ASSAULT ON FORT WAGNER. 

The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment. — Col. Shaw. — March to 
the Island. — Preparation. — Speeches. — The Attack. — Storm of 
Shot, Shell, and Canister. — Heroism of Officers and Men. — Death 
of Col. Shaw. — The Color-sergeant. — The Retreat. — " Buried 
with his Niggers." — Comments 198 

CHAPTER XXVIII. 

THE SLAVE-MARTYR. 

The Siege of Washington, N.C. — Big Bob, the Negro Scout. — The 
Perilous Adventure. — The Fight. — Return. — Night-expedition. 

— The Fatal Sandbar. — The Enemy's Shells. — " Somebody's got 
to die to get us out of this, and it may as well be me." — Death of 
Bob. — Safety of the Boat . . . ... .212 

CHAPTER XXIX. 

BATTLE OF OLUSTEE, FLORIDA. 

The Union Troops decoyed into a Swamp. — They are outnumbered. 

— Their Great Bravery. — The Heroism of the Fifty-fourth Massa- 
chusetts. — Death of Col. Fribley 217 



CONTENTS. Xlll 

CHAPTER XXX. 

BATTLE OF POISON SPRINGS, ARKANSAS. 

Hard-fought Battle. — Bravery of the Kansas Colored Troops. — The} 
die, but will not yield. — Outnumbered by the Rebels. — Another 
Severe Battle. — The Heroic Negro, after being wounded, fights till 
he dies 225 

CHAPTER XXXI. 

THE MASSACRE AT FORT PILLOW. 

Assault and Capture of the Fort. — " No Quarter." — Rebel Atroci- 
ties. — Gens. Forrest and Chalmers. — Firing upon Flags of Truce. 
— Murder of Men, Women, and Children. — Night after the As- 
sault. — Buried Alive. — Morning after the Massacre . • .23b 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

INJUSTICE TO COLORED TROOPS. 

The Pay of the Men. — Government refuses to keep its Promise. — Ef- 
forts of Gov. Andrew to have Justice done. — Complaint of the Men. 
— Mutiny. — Military Murder. — Everlasting Shame . . .248 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

BATTLE OF HONEY HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA. 

Union Troops. — The March. — The Enemy. — The Swamp. — 
Earth-works. — The Battle. — Desperate Fighting. — Great Bra- 
very. — Col. Hartwell. — Fifty-fifth Massachusetts. — The Dying 
and the Dead. — The Ketreat. — The Enemy's Position. — Earth- 
works. — His Advantages. — The Union Forces. — The Blacks. — 
Our Army outnumbered by the Rebels. — Their Concealed Bat- 
teries. — Skirmishing. — The Rebels retreat to their Base. — The 
s Battle. — Great Bravery of our Men. — The Fifty-fifth Massachu- 
setts saves the Army 255 



XIV CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XXXIV. 

BEFORE PETERSBURG AND RICHMOND. 

Assault and Failure. — Who to blame. — Heroic Conduct of the 
Blacks. — The Mine. — Success at the Second Attack. — Death of 
a Gallant Negro. — A Black Officer . . . . . 265 

CHAPTER XXXV. 

WIT AND HUMOR OF THE WAR. 

Negro Wit and Humor. — The Faithful Sentinel. — The Sentinel's Ee- 
spect for the United-States Uniform. — The " Nail-kag." — The 
Poetical Drummer-boy. — Contrabands on Sherman's March. — 
Negro Poetry on Freedom. — The Soldier's Speech. — Contraband 
capturing his Old Master. 273 

CHAPTER XXXVI. 

A THRILLING INCIDENT OF THE WAR. 

Heroic Escape of a Slave. — His Story of his Sister. — Resides North. 
— Joins the Army, and returns to the South during the Rebellion. — 
Search for his Mother. — Finds her. — Thrilling Scene. — Truth 
stranger than Fiction 283 

CHAPTER XXXVII. 

PROGRESS AND JUSTICE. 

Great Change in the Treatment of Colored Troops. — Negro Appoint- 
ments* — Justice to the Black Soldiers. — Steamer " Planter." — 
Progress. — The Paymaster at last. — John S. Rock . . . 291 

CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

FOURTH-OF-JULY CELEBRATION AT THE HOME OF JEFF. 

DAVIS. 

Fourth-of-July Celebration at the Home of Jeff. Davis in Mississippi. — 
The Trip. — Joe Davis's Place. — JefF.'s Place. — The Dinner.— 
Speeches and Songs. — Lively Times. — Return to Vicksburg . 298 



CONTENTS. XV 

CHAPTER XXXIX. 

GALLANTRY, LOYALTY, AND KINDNESS OF THE NEGRO. 

The Nameless Hero at Fair Oaks. — The Chivalry whipped by their 
Former Slaves, — Endurance of the Blacks. — Man in Chains. — 
One Negro whips Three Rebels. — Gallantry. — Outrages on the 
Blacks. — Kindness of the Negroes. — Welcome .... 309 

CHAPTER XL. 

FALL OF THE CONFEDERACY, AND DEATH OF PRESIDENT 

LINCOLN. 

Flight of Jeff. Davis from Richmond. — Visit of President Lincoln to 
the Rebel Capital. — Welcome by the Blacks. — Surrender of Gen. 
Lee. — Death of Abraham Lincoln. — The Nation in Tears . . 323 

CHAPTER XLL 

PRESIDENT ANDREW JOHNSON. 

Origin of Andrew Johnson. — His Speeches in Tennessee. — The 
Negro's Moses. — The Deceived Brahmin. — The Comparison. — 
Interview with Southerners. — Northern Delegation. — Delegation 
of Colored Men. — Their Appeal .' . 328 

CHAPTER XLII. 

ILL TREATMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE SOUTH. 

The Old Slaveholders. — The Freedmen. — Murders. — School-teach- 
ers. — Riot at Memphis. — Mob at New Orleans. — Murder of Union 
Men. — Riot at a Camp-meeting 345 

CHAPTER XLIII. 

PROTECTION FOR THE COLORED PEOPLE. 

Protection for the Colored People South. — The Civil Rights Bill. — 
Liberty without the Ballot no Boon. — Impartial Suffrage. — Test 
Oaths not to be depended upon 355 



XVI CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XLIV. 

CASTE. 

Slavery the Foundation of Caste. — Black its Preference. — The Gen- 
eral Wish for Black Hair and Eyes. — No Hatred to Color. — The 
White Slave. — A Mistake. — Stole his Thunder. — The Burman. 
— Pew for Sale . .361 

CHAPTER XLV. 

SIXTH REGIMENT UNITED-STATES VOLUNTEERS. 

Organization of the Regiment. — Assigned to Hard Work. — Brought 
under Fire. — Its Bravery. — Battle before Richmond. — Gallantry 
of the Sixth. — Officers' Testimony 375 



THE NEGRO 



IN THE 



AMERICAN REBELLION. 



CHAPTER I 

BLACKS IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR AND IN 1812. 

The First Cargo of Slaves landed in the Colonies in 1620. — Slave Repre- 
sentation in Congress. — Opposition to the Slave-Trade. — Crispus 
Attacks, the First Victim of the Revolutionary War. — Bancroft's 
Testimony. — Capture of Gen. Prescott. — Colored Men in the War 
of 1812. — Gen. Andrew Jackson on Negro Soldiers. 

I now undertake to write a history of the part which 
the colored men took in the great American Rebellion. 
Previous to entering upon that subject, however, I may 
be pardoned for bringing before the reader the condition 
of the blacks previous to the breaking out of the war. 

The Declaration of American Independence, made 
July 4, 1776, had scarcely been enunciated, and an 
organization of the government commenced, ere the 
people found themselves surrounded by new and trying 
difficulties, which, for a time, threatened to wreck the 
ship of state. 

The forty-five slaves landed on the banks of the James 



2 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

River, in the colony of Virginia, from the coast of Africa, 
in 1620, had multiplied to several thousands, and were in- 
fluencing the political, social, and religious institutions 
of the country. Brought into the colonies against their 
will ; made the " hewers of wood and the drawers of 
water ; ?; considered, in the light of law and public 
opinion, as mere chattels, — things to be bought and sold 
at the will of the owner; driven to their unrequited toil 
by unfeeling men, picked for the purpose from the lowest 
and most degraded of the uneducated whites, whose 
moral, social, and political degradation, by slavery, was 
equal to that of the slave, — the condition of the negro 
was indeed a sad one. 

The history of this people, full of sorrow, blood, and 
tears, is full also of instruction for mankind. God has 
so ordered it that one class shall not degrade another, 
without becoming themselves contaminated. So with 
slavery in America. The institution bred in the master 
insulting arrogance, deteriorating sloth, pampered the 
loathsome lust it inflamed, until licentious luxury sapped 
the strength and rottened the virtue of the slave-owners 
of the South. Never were the institutions of a people, 
jr the principles of liberty, put to such a severe test as 
Uiose of the American Republic. The convention to 
> l rame the Constitution for the government of the United 
States had not organized before the slave-masters began 
to press the claims of their system upon the delegates. 
They wanted their property represented in the national 
Congress, and undue guarantees thrown around it; they 
wanted the African slave-trade made lawful, and their 
victims returned if they should attempt to escape; they 
begged that an article might be inserted in the Consti- 
tution, making it the duty of the General Government to 



BLACKS IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR. 3 

put down the slaves if they should imitate their masters 
in striking a blow for freedom. They seemed afraid of 
the very evil they were clinging so closely to. " Thus 
conscience doth make cowards of us all. 77 

In all this early difficulty, South Carolina took the lead 
against humanity, her delegates ever showing themselves 
the foes of freedom. Both in the Federal Convention to 
frame the Constitution, and in the State Conventions 
to ratify the same, it was admitted that the blacks had 
fought bravely against the British, and in favor of the 
American Republic ; for the fact that a black man 
(Crispus Attucks) was the first to give his life at the 
commencement of the Revolution was still fresh in their 
minds. Eighteen years previous to the breaking out of 
the war, Attucks was held as a slave by Mr. William 
Brown of Framingham, Mass., and from whom he 
escaped about that time, taking up his residence in Bos- 
ton. The Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770, may be re- 
garded as the first act in the great drama of the Ameri- 
can Revolution. " From that moment, 77 said Daniel 
Webster, " we may date the severance of the British 
Empire. 77 The presence of the British soldiers in King 
Street excited the patriotic indignation of the people. 
The whole community was stirred, and sage counsellors 
were deliberating and writing and talking about the 
public grievances. But it was not for " the wise and 
prudent 77 to be the first to act against the encroachments 
of arbitrary power. " A motley rabble of saucy boys, 
negroes and mulattoes, Irish Teagues, and outlandish 
Jack tars 77 (as John Adams described them in his plea 
in defence of the soldiers) could not restrain their emo 
tion, or stop to inquire if what they must do was accord- 
ing to the letter of any law. Led by Crispus Attucks, 



4 THE NEGRO* IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

the mulatto slave, and shouting, " The way to get rid of 
these soldiers is to attack the main guard ; strike at the 
root ; this is the nest," with more valor than discretion, 
they rushed to King Street, and were fired upon by 
Capt. Preston's Company. Crispus Attucks was the first 
to fall : he and Samuel Gray and Jonas Caldwell were 
killed on the spot. Samuel Maverick and Patrick Carr 
were mortally wounded. 

The excitement which followed was intense. The 
bells of the town were rung. An impromptu town- 
meeting was held, and an immense assembly was gath- 
ered. 

Three days after, on the 8th, a public funeral of the 
martyrs took place. The shops in Boston were closed; 
and all the bells of Boston and the neighboring towns 
were rung. It is said that a greater number of persons 
assembled on this occasion than were ever before gath- 
ered on this continent for a similar purpose. The body 
of Crispus Attucks, the mulatto slave, had been placed 
in Faneuil Hall, with that of Caldwell, both being 
strangers in the city. Maverick was buried from his 
mother's house, in Union Street ; and Gray from his 
brother's, in Royal Exchange Lane. The four hearses 
formed a junction in King Street; and there the proces- 
sion marched in columns six deep, with a long file of 
coaches belonging to the most distinguished citizens, to 
the Middle Burying-ground, where the four victims were 
deposited in one grave, over which a stone was placed 
with this inscription : — 

" Long as in Freedom's cause the wise contend, 
Dear to your country shall your fame extend ; 
While to the world the lettered stone shall tell 
Where Caldwell, Attucks, Gray, and Maverick fell." 



BLACKS IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR. 5 

The anniversary of this event was publicly commem- 
orated in Boston, by an oration and other exercises, every 
year until after our national independence was achieved, 
when the Fourth of July was substituted for the Fifth 
of March as the more proper day for a general celebra- 
tion. Not only was the event commemorated, but the 
martyrs who then gave up their lives were remembered 
and honored. 

For half a century after the close of the war, the 
name of Crispus Attucks was honorably mentioned by 
the most noted men of the country who were not 
blinded by foolish prejudice. At the battle of Bunker 
Hill, Peter Salem, a negro, distinguished himself by 
shooting Major Pitcairn, who, in the midst of the battle, 
having passed the storm of fire without, mounting the 
redoubt, and waving his sword, cried to the " rebels" 
to surrender. The fall of Pitcairn ended the battle in 
favor of liberty. 

A single passage from Mr. Bancroft's history will 
give a succinct and clear account of the condition of 
the army, in respect to colored soldiers, at the time 
of the battle of Bunker Hill: — 

" Nor should history forget to record, that, as in the 
army at Cambridge, so also in this gallant band, the free 
negroes of the colony had their representatives. For 
the right of free negroes to bear arms in the public de- 
fence was, at that day, as little disputed in New England 
as their other rights. They took their place, not in a 
separate corps, but in the ranks with the white man ; 
and their names may be read on the pension-rolls of the 
country, side by side with those of other soldiers of 
the Revolution." — Bancroft's History of the United 
States, vol. vii. p. 421. 



6 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

The capture of Major-Gen. Prescott, of the British 
army, on the 9th of July, 1777, was an occasion of great 
joy throughout the country. Prince, the valiant negro 
who seized that officer, ought always to be remembered 
with honor for his important service. The exploit was 
much commended at the time, as its results, were highly 
important ; and Col. Barton, very properly, received 
from Congress the complicaent of a sword for his inge- 
nuity and bravery. It seems, however, that it took 
more than one head to plan and to execute the under- 
taking. The following account of the capture is histor- 
ical : — 

" They landed about five miles from Newport, and 
three-quarters of a mile from the house, which they 
approached cautiously, avoiding the main guard, which 
w r as at some distance. The colonel went foremost, with 
a stout, active negro close behind him, and another at a 
small distance : the rest followed so as to be near, but not 
seen. 

" A single sentinel at the door saw and hailed the 
colonel : he answered by exclaiming against, and in- 
quiring for, rebel prisoners, but kept slowly advancing. 
The sentinel again challenged him, and required the 
countersign. He said he had not the countersign, but 
amused the sentry by talking about rebel prisoners, and 
still advancing till he came within reach of the bayo- 
net, which, he presenting, the colonel suddenly struck 
aside, and seized him. He was immediately secured, 
and ordered to be silent on pain of instant death. 
Meaniohile, the rest of the men surrounding the house, 
the negro, with his head, at the second stroke, forced a 
passage into it, and then into the landlord's apartment. 
The landlord at first refused to give the necessary in- 



BLACKS IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR. 7 

telligence ; but, on the prospect of present death, he 
pointed to the general 1 s chamber, which being instantly 
opened by the negro's head, the colonel, calling the gen- 
eral by name, told him he was a prisoner" — Pennsyl- 
vania Evening Post, Aug. 7, 1777 (in Frank Moore's 
"Diary of the American Revolution/ 7 vol. i. p. 468). 

There is abundant evidence of the fidelity and bra- 
very of the colored patriots of Rhode Island during the 
whole war. Before they had been formed into a separ- 
ate regiment, they had fought valiantly with the white 
soldiers at Red Bank and elsewhere. Their conduct at 
the " Battle of Rhode Island/' on the 29th of August, 
1778, entitles them to perpetual honor. That battle has 
been pronounced by military authorities to have been 
one of the best-fought battles of the Revolutionary 
War. Its success was owing, in a great degree, to the 
good fighting of the negro soldiers. Mr. Arnold, in his 
" History of Rhode Island, 7 ' thus closes his account of 
it: — 

" A third time the enemy, with desperate courage and 
increased strength, attempted to assail the redoubt, and 
would have carried it, but for the timely aid of two Con- 
tinental battalions despatched by Sullivan to support 
his almost exhausted troops. It was in repelling these 
furious onsets, that the newly raised black regiment, 
under Col. Greene, distinguished itself by deeds of 
desperate valor. Posted behind a thicket in the valley, 
they three times drove back the Hessians, who charged 
repeatedly down the hill to dislodge them: and*so de- 
termined were the enemy in these successive charges, 
that, the day after the battle, the Hessian colonel, upon 
whom this duty had devolved, applied to exchange his 
command, and go to New York, because he dared not 



8 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

lead his regiment again to battle, lest his men should 
shoot him for having caused them so much loss.' 7 — Ar- 
nold's History of Rhode Island, vol. ii. pp. 427, 428. 

Three years later, these soldiers are thus mentioned 
by the Marquis de Chastellux*: — 

"The 5th [of January, 1781] I did not set out till 
eleven, although I had thirty miles' journey to Lebanon. 
At the passage to the ferry, I met with a detachment 
of the Rhode-Island regiment, — the same corps we had 
with us all the last summer ; but they have since been 
recruited and clothed. The greatest part of them are 
negroes or mulattoes : they are strong, robust men ; and 
those I have seen had a very good appearance. 77 — 
Chastellux's Travels, vol. i. p. 454 ; London, 1789. 

When Col. Greene was surprised and murdered, near 
Points Bridge, New York, on the 14th of May, 1781, 
his colored soldiers heroically defended him till they 
w T ere cut to pieces ; and the en^my reached him over 
the dead bodies of his faithful negroes. 

That large numbers of negroes were enrolled in the 
army, and served faithfully as soldiers during the whole 
period of the war of the Revolution, may be regarded 
as a well-established historical fact. And it should be 
borne in mind, that the enlistment was not confined, by 
any means, to those who had before enjoyed the privi- 
leges of free citizens. Very many slaves were offered 
to, and received by, the army, on the condition that 
they were to be emancipated, either at the time of en- 
listing, or when they had served out the term of their 
enlistment. The inconsistency of keeping in slavery 
any person who had taken up arms for the defence of 
our national liberty had led to the passing of an order 
forbidding " slaves/ 7 as such, to be received as soldiers. 



BLACKS IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR. 9 

That colored men were equally serviceable in the last 
war with Great Britain is true, as the following, histor- 
ical document will show : — 

GENERAL JACKSON'S PROCLAMATION TO THE NEGROES. 

Headquarters, Seventh Military District, 
Mobile, Sept. 21, 1814. 

To the Free Colored Inhabitants of Louisiana. 

Through a mistaken policy, you have heretofore been 
deprived of a participation in the glorious struggle for 
national rights in which our country is engaged. This 
no longer shall exist. 

As sons of freedom-, you are now called upon to defend 
our most inestimable blessing. As Americans, your 
country looks with confidence to her adopted children 
for a valorous support, as a faithful return for the advan- 
tages enjoyed under her mild and equitable government. 
As fathers, husbands, and brothers, you are summoned 
to rally around the standard of the Eagle to defend all 
which is dear in existence. 

Your country, although calling for your exertions, 
does not wish you to engage in her cause without amply 
remunerating you for the services rendered. Your in- 
telligent minds are not to be led away by false repre- 
sentations. Your love of honor would cause you to 
despise the man who should attempt to deceive you. 
In the sincerity of a soldier, and the language of truth, 
I address you. 

To every noble-hearted, generous freeman of color, 
volunteering to serve during the present contest with 
Great Britain, and no longer, there will be paid the same 
bounty, in money and lands, now received by the white 



10 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

soldiers of the United States ; viz., one hundred and 
twenty, dollars in money, and one hundred and sixty 
acres of land. The non-commissioned officers and pri- 
vates will also be entitled to the same monthly pay, and 
daily rations, and clothes, furnished to any American 
soldier. . 

On enrolling yourselves in companies^ the Major-Gen- 
eral Commanding will select officers for your government 
from your white fellow-citizens. Your non-commissioned 
officers will be appointed from among yourselves. 

Due regard will be paid to the feelings of freemen 
and soldiers. You will not, by being associated with 
white men in the same corps, be exposed to improper 
comparisons or unjust sarcasm. "As a distinct, inde- 
pendent battalion or regiment, pursuing the path of 
glory, you will, undivided, receive the applause and 
gratitude of your countrymen. 

To assure you of the sincerity of my intentions, and 
my anxiety to engage your invaluable services to our 
country, I have communicated my wishes to the Gover- 
nor of Louisiana, who is fully informed as to the manner 
of enrollment, and will give you every necessary infor- 
mation on the subject of this address. 

ANDREW JACKSON, 

Majar-General Commanding. 
[Niles's Register, vol. vii. p. 205.] 

Three months later, Gen. Jackson addressed the same 
troops as follows : — 

" To the Men of Color. Soldiers ! From the shores 
of Mobile I collected you to arms. I invited you to 
share in the perils and to divide the glory of your white 
countrymen. I expected much from you ; for I was 



BLACKS IX THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR. 11 

not uninformed of those qualities which must render 
you so formidable to an invading foe. I knew that you 
could endure hunger and thirst, and all the hardships of 
war. I knew that you loved the land of your nativity, 
and that, like ourselves, you had to defend all that is 
most dear to man. But you surpass my hopes. I have 
found in you, united to these qualities, that noble enthu- 
siasm which impels to great deeds. 

" Soldiers ! The President of the United States shall 
be informed of your conduct on the present occasion ; 
and the voice of the Representatives of the American 
nation shall applaud your valor, as your general now 
praises your ardor. The enemy is near. His sails cover 
the lakes. But the brave are united ; and, if he finds 
us contending with ourselves, it will be for the prize of 
valor, and fame its noblest reward. 77 — Niles's Register, 
vol. vii. pp. 345, 346. 

. Black men served in the navy with great credit to 
themselves, receiving the commendation of Com. Perry 
and other brave officers. 

Extract of a Letter from Nathaniel Shaler, Commander 
of the private-armed Schooner Gen. Tompkins, to his 
Agent in New York, dated, — 

"At Sea, Jan. 1, 1813. 
• ••••• 

11 Before I could get our light sails in, and almost be- 
fore I could turn round, I was under the guns, not of a 
transport, but of a large frigate ! and not more than a 
quarter of a mile from her Her first broad- 
side killed two men, and wounded six others 

My officers conducted themselves in a way that would 
have done honor to a more permanent service. .... 



12 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

The name of one of my poor fellows who was killed 
ought to be registered in the book of fame, and remem- 
bered with reverence as long as bravery is considered a 
virtue. He was a black man, by the name of John 
Johnson. A twenty-four pound shot struck him in the 
hip, and took away all the lower part of his body. In 
this state, the poor brave fellow lay on the deck, and 
several times exclaimed to his shipmates, ' Fire away, 
my boy : no haul a color doiunS The other was also a 
black man, by the name of John Davis, and was struck 
in much the same way. He fell near me, and several 
times requested to be thrown overboard, saying he was 
only in the way of others. 

" When America has such tars, she has little to fear 
from the tyrants of the ocean." — Niles's Weekly Register, 
Saturday, Feb. 26, 1814. 



CHAPTER II. 

THE SOUTH-CAROLINA FRIGHT. 

Denmark Vesey, Peter Poyas, and their Companions. — The deep-laid Plans. 
— Religious Fanaticism. — - The Discovery. — The Trials. — Convic- 
tions. — Executions. 

Human bondage is ever fruitful of insurrection, wher- 
ever it exists, and under whatever circumstances it may 
be found. 

An undeveloped discontent always pervaded the 
black population of the South, bond and free. Many 
attempts at revolt were made : two only, however, proved 
of a serious and alarming character. The first was in 
1812, the leader of which was Denmark Vesey, a free 
colored man, who had purchased his liberty in the year 
1800, and who resided in Charleston, S.C. A carpenter 
by trade, working among the blacks, Denmark gained in- 
fluence with them, and laid a plan of insurrection which 
showed considerable generalship. Like most men who 
take the lead in revolts, he was deeply imbued with a 
religious duty ; and his friends claimed that he had " a 
magnetism in his eye, of which his confederates stood in 
great awe : if he once got his eye on a man, there was 
no resisting it." 

After resolving to incite the slaves to rebellion, Den- 
mark began taking into his confidence such persons as 
he could trust, and instructing them to gain adherents 
from among the more reliable of both bond and free. 

13 



14 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

Peter Poyas, a slave of more than ordinary foresight 
and ability, was selected by him as his lieutenant ; and 
to him was committed the arduous duty of arranging the 
mode of attack, and of acting as the military leader. 
Poyas voluntarily undertook the management of the 
most difficult part of the enterprise, the capture of 
the main guard-house, and had pledged himself to ad- 
vance alone, and surprise the sentinel. G-ullah Jack, Tom 
Russell, and Ned Bennett, — the last two were not less 
valuable than Peter Poyas ; for Tom was an ingenious 
mechanic, and made battle-axes, pikes, and other instru- 
ments of death with which to carry on the war, — all 
of the above were to be generals of brigades, and 
were let into every secret of the intended rising. It 
had long been the custom in Charleston for the country 
slaves to visit the city in great numbers on Sunday, and 
return to their homes in time to commence work on the 
following morning. It was, therefore, determined by 
Vesey to have the rising take place on Sunday. The 
slaves of nearly every plantation in the neighborhood 
were enlisted, and were to take part. The details of 
the plan, however, were not rashly committed to the 
mass of the confederates : they were known only to a 
few, and were finally to have been announced after the 
evening prayer-meeting on the appointed Sunday. But 
each leader had his own company enlisted, and his own 
work marked out. When the clock struck twelve, all 
were to move. Poyas was to lead a party ordered to 
assemble at South Bay, and to be joined by a force from 
James' Island : he was then to march up and seize the 
arsenal and guard-house opposite St. Michael's Church, 
and detach a sufficient number to cut off all white 
citizens who should appear at the alarm-posts. A second 



THE SOUTH-CAROLINA FRIGHT. 15 

body of blacks, from the country and the Neck, headed 
by Ned Bennett, was to assemble on the Neck, and seize 
the arsenal there. A third was to meet at Governor 
Bennett's Mills under the command of Holla, another 
leader, and, after putting the governor and intendant 
to death, to march through the city, or be posted at Can- 
nons Bridge, thus preventing the inhabitants of Cannons- 
borough from entering the city. 

A fourth, partly from the country and partly from the 
neighboring localities in the city, was to rendezvous on 
Gadsden's Wharf, and attack the upper guard-house. A 
fifth, composed of country and Neck blacks, was to as- 
semble at Bulkley's Farm, two miles and a half from the 
city, seize the upper powder magazine, and then march 
down ; and a sixth was to assemble at Vesey's, and obey 
his orders. A seventh detachment, under Gullah Jack, 
was to come together in Boundry Street, at the head of 
King Street, to capture the arms of the Neck company 
of militia, and to take an additional supply from Mr. 
Duguercron's shop. The naval stores on Meg's Wharf 
were also to be attacked. Meanwhile a horse company, 
consisting of many draymen, hostlers, and butcher boys, 
was to meet at Lightwood's Alley, and then scour the 
streets to prevent the whites from assembling. 

Every white man coming out of his own door was to 
be killed, and, if necessary, the city was to be fired in 
several places; a slow match for this purpose having been 
purloined from the public arsenal, and placed in an ac- 
cessible position. The secret and plan of attack, how- 
ever, were incautiously divulged to a slave named Dev- 
any, belonging to Col. Prioleau ; and he at once in- 
formed his master's family. The mayor, on getting pos- 
session of the facts, called the city council together for 



16 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

consultation. The investigation elicited nothing new, 
for the slaves persisted in their ignorance of the matter ; 
and the authorities began to feel that they hacTbeen im- 
posed upon by Devany and his informants, when another 
of the conspirators, being bribed, revealed what he 
knew. Arrest after arrest was made, and the mayor's 
court held daily examinations for weeks. After several 
weeks of incarceration, the accused, one hundred and 
twenty in number, were brought to trial : thirty-four 
were sentenced to transportation, twenty-seven acquitted 
by the court, twenty-five discharged without trial, and 
thirty-five condemned to death. With but two or three 
exceptions, all of the conspirators went to the gallows 
feeling that they had acted right, and died like men 
giving their lives for the cause of freedom. A report of 
the trial, written soon after, says of Denmark Vesey, 
" For several years before he disclosed his intentions to 
any one, he appears to have been constantly and assid- 
uously engaged in endeavoring to imbitter the minds of 
the colored population against the whites. He rendered 
himself perfectly familiar with those parts of the Scrip- 
tures which he could use to show that slavery was con- 
trary to the laws of God ; that slaves were bound to 
attempt their emancipation, however shocking and 
bloody might be the consequences ; and that such ef- 
forts would not only be pleasing to the Almighty, but 
were absolutely enjoined, and their success predicted, 
in the Scriptures. 

" His favorite texts, when he addressed those of his own 
color, were Zech. xiv. 1-3, and Joshua vi. 21;" and, in 
all his conversations, he identified their situation with 
that of the Israelites. Even while walking through the 
streets in company with another, he was not idle ; for, if 



THE SOUTH-CAROLINA FRIGHT. 17 

his companion bowed to a white person, he would 
rebuke him, and observe that all men were born equal, 
and that he was surprised that any one would degrade 
himself by such conduct ; that he would never cringe to 
the whites, nor ought any one who had the feelings of 
a man. When answered, ' We are slaves/ he would sar- 
castically and indignantly reply, l You deserve to remain 
slaves ; 7 and if he were further asked, l What can we 
do? 7 he would remark, 'Go and buy a spelling-book, 
and read the fable of Hercules and the wagoner/ which 
he would then repeat, and apply it to their situation. 

" He sought every opportunity of entering into conver- 
sation with white persons, when they could be over- 
heard by slaves near by, especially in grog-shops, 
during which conversation, he would artfully introduce 
some bold remark on slavery ; and sometimes, w T hen 
from the character of the person he was conversing with 
he found he might be still bolder, he would go so far, that, 
had not his declarations in such situations been clearly 
proved, they would scarcely have been credited. He 
continued this course till some time after the commence- 
ment of the last winter ; by which time he had not only 
obtained incredible influence amongst persons of color, 
but many feared him more than they did their masters, 
and one of them declared, even more than his God." 

The excitement which the revelations of the trial 
occasioned, and the continual fanning of the flame by the 
newspapers, was beyond description. Double guard in 
the city, the country patrol on horseback and on foot, 
the watchfulness that was observed on all plantations, 
showed the deep feeling of fear pervading the hearts of 
the slave-holders, not only in South Carolina, but the 
fever extended to the other Southern States, and all 



18 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

seemed to feel that a great crisis had been passed. And 
indeed, their fears appear not to have been without 
ground ; for a more complicated plan for an insurrection 
could scarcely have been conceived. 

Many were of opinion, that, the rising once begun, 
they would have taken the city, and held it, and might 
have sealed the fate of slavery in the South. The best 
account of this whole matter is to be found in an able 
article in the " Atlantic Monthly " for June, 1861, from the 
pen of Col. T. W. Higginson, and to which I am indebted 
for the extracts contained in this sketch. 



CHAPTER III. 

THE NAT TURNER INSURRECTION. 

Nat Turner. — His Associates. — Their Meetings. — Nat's Religious En- 
thusiasm. — Bloodshed. — Wide-spread Terror. — The Trials and Exe- 
cutions. 

The slave insurrection which occurred in Southamp- 
ton County, Va., in the year 1831, although not as well 
planned as the one portrayed in the preceding chapter, 
was, nevertheless, more widely felt in the South. Its 
leader was Nat Turner, a slave. 

On one of the oldest and largest plantations in South- 
ampton County, Va., owned by Benjamin Turner, Esq., 
Nat was born a slave, on the 2d of October, 1800. His 
parents were of unmixed African descent. Surrounded 
as he was by the superstition of the slave-quarters, 
and being taught by his mother that he was born for a 
prophet, a preacher, and a deliverer of his race, it was 
not strange that the child should have imbibed the prin- 
ciples which were afterwards developed in his career. 
Early impressed with the belief that he had seen visions, 
and received communications direct from God, he, like 
Napoleon, regarded himself as a being of destiny. In 
his childhood, Nat was of an amiable disposition ; but 
circumstances in which he was placed as a slave brought 
out incidents that created a change in his disposition, 
and turned his kind and docile feeling into the most 
intense hatred to the white race. 

19 



20 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

The ill-treatment he experienced at the hands of the 
whites, and the visions he claimed to have seen, caused 
Nat to avoid, as far as he could, all intercourse with 
his fellow-slaves, and threw around him a gloom and 
melancholy that disappeared only with his life. 

Both the young slave and his friends averred that a 
full knowledge of the alphabet came to him in a single 
night. Impressed with the belief that his mission was 
a religious one, and this impression strengthened by the 
advice of his grandmother, a pious but ignorant woman, 
Nat commenced preaching when about twenty-five years 
of age, but never went beyond his own master's locality. 
In stature, he was under the middle size, long-armed, 
round-shouldered, and strongly marked with the African 
features. A gloomy fire burned in his looks, and he had 
a melancholy expression of countenance. He never 
tasted a drop of ardent spirits in his life, and was never 
known to smile. In the year 1828, new visions appeared 
to Nat ; and he claimed to have direct communication 
with God. Unlike most of those born under the influ- 
ence of slavery, he had no faith in conjuring, fortune- 
telling, or dreams, and always spoke with contempt of 
such things. Being hired out to a cruel master, he ran 
away, and remained in the woods thirty days, and could 
have easily escaped to the Free States, as did his father 
some years before ; but he received, as he says in his 
confession, a communication from the Spirit, which said, 
" Return to your earthly master; for he who'knoweth 
his Master's will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten 
with many stripes." It was not the will of his earthly 
but his heavenly Master that he felt bound to do ; and 
therefore Nat returned. His fellow-slaves were greatly 
incensed at him for coming back ; for they knew well his 



THE NAT TURNER INSURRECTION. 21 

ability to reach Canada, or some other land of freedom, 
if he was so inclined. He say's further, " About this 
time I had a vision, and saw white spirits and black 
spirits engaged in battle ; and the sun was darkened, the 
thunder rolled in the heavens, and blood flowed 'in 
streams ; and I heard a voice saying, ' Such is your luck, 
such are you called on to see ; and let it come, rough or 
smooth, you must surely bear it ! ' " Some time after 
this, Nat had, as he says, another vision, in which the 
spirit appeared and said, " The Serpent is loosened, and 
Christ has laid down the yoke he has borne for the sins 
of men ; and you must take it up, and fight against the 
Serpent, for the time is fast approaching when the first 
shall be last, and the last shall be first.' 7 There is no 
doubt but that tHis last sentence filled Nat with enthusi- 
astic feeling in favor of the liberty of his race, that he 
had so long dreamed of. "The last shall be first, and 
the first shall be last," seemed to him to mean something. 
He saw in it the overthrow of the whites, and the estab- 
lishing of the blacks in their stead ; and to this end he 
bent the energies of his mind. In February, 1831, Nat 
received his last communication, and beheld his last 
vision. He said, " I was told I should arise and prepare 
myself, and slay my enemies with their own weapons. " 

The plan of an insurrection was now formed in his 
own mind, and the time had arrived for him to take 
others into the secret; and he at once communicated his 
ideas to four of his friends, in whom he had implicit confi- 
dence. Hark Travis, Nelson Williams, Sam Edwards, 
and Henry Porter were slaves like himself, and, like him, 
had taken their names from their masters. A meeting 
must be held with these, and it must take place -in some 
secluded place where the whites would not disturb 



22 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

them ; and a meeting was appointed. The spot where 
they assembled was as wild and romantic as were the 
visions that had been impressed upon the mind of their 
leader. 

Three miles from where Nat lived was a dark swamp, 
filled with reptiles, in the middle of which was a dry 
spot, reached by a narrow, winding path, and upon which 
human feet seldom ever trod, on account of its having 
been the place where a slave had been tortured to death 
by a slow fire, for the crime of having flogged his cruel 
and inhuman master. The night for the meeting arrived, 
and they came together. Hark brought a pig, Sam 
bread, Nelson sweet potatoes, and Henry brandy ; and 
the gathering was turned into a feast. Others were 
taken in, and joined the conspiracy. All partook heartily 
of the food, and drank freely, except Nat. He fasted and 
prayed. It was agreed that the revolt should commence 
that night, and in their own masters' households, and 
that each slave should give his oppressor the death-blow. 
Before they left the swamp, Nat made a speech, in which 
he said, " Friends and brothers ! We are to commence 
a great work to-night. Our race is to be delivered from 
slavery, and God has appointed us as the men to do his 
bidding ; and let us be worthy of our calling. I am told 
to slay all the whites we encounter, without regard to age 
or sex. We have no arms or ammunition, but we will 
find these in the houses of our oppressors ; and, as we 
go on, others can join us. Remember that we do not go 
forth for the sake of blood and carnage ; but it is neces- 
sary, that, in the commencement of this revolution, all the 
whites we meet should die, until we have an army strong 
enough to carry on the war upon a Christian basis. Re- 
member that ours is not a war for robbery, and to satisfy 



THE NAT TURNER INSURRECTION. 23 



% 



our passions : it is a struggle for freedom. Ours must 
be deeds, and not words. Then let's away to the scene 
of action. 7 ' 

Among those who had joined the conspirators was 
Will, a slave, who scorned the idea of taking his master's 
name. Though his soul longed to be free, he evidently 
became one of the party as much to satisfy revenge as 
for the liberty that he saw in the dim distance. Will had 
seen a dear and beloved wife sold to the negro-trader, 
and taken away, never to be beheld by him again in this 
life. His own back was covered with scars, from his 
shoulders to his feet. A large scar, running from his 
right eye down to his chin, showed that he had lived 
with a cruel master. Nearly six feet in height, and one 
of the strongest and most athletic of his race, he proved 
to be the most unfeeling of all the insurrectionists. His 
only weapon was a broad-axe, sharp and heavy. 

Nat and his accomplices at once started for the planta- 
tion of Joseph Travis, with whom the four lived; and 
there the first blow was struck. In his confession, just 
before his execution, Nat said, — 

" On returning to the house, Hark went to the door 
with an axe, for the purpose of breaking it open, — as we 
knew we were strong enough to murder the family 
should they be awakened by the noise ; but, reflecting 
that it might create an alarm in the neighborhood, we 
determined to enter the house secretly, and murder them 
whilst sleeping. Hark got a ladder, and set it against 
the chimney, on which I ascended, and, hoisting a win- 
dow, entered and came down stairs, unbarred the doors, 
and removed the guns from their places. It was then 
observed that I must spill the first blood. On which, 
armed with a hatchet, and accompanied by Will, I en- 



24 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

tered my master's chamber. It being dark, I could not 
give a death-blow. The hatchet glanced from his head : 
he sprang from the bed, and called his wife. It was his 
last word. Will laid him dead with a blow of his axe." 

They went from plantation to plantation, until the 
whole neighborhood was aroused; and the whites turned 
out in large numbers to suppress the rebellion. Nat 
and his accomplices fought bravely, but to no purpose. 

Reinforcements came to the whites ; and the blacks 
were overpowered and defeated by the superior num- 
bers of the enemy. In this battle, many were slain on 
both sides. Will, the blood-thirsty and revengeful slave, 
fell with his broad-axe uplifted, after having laid three 
of the whites dead at his feet with his own strong arm 
and his terrible weapon. His last words were, " Bury 
my axe with me." For he religiously believed, that, in 
the next world, the blacks would have a contest with the 
whites, and that he would need his axe. Nat Turner, 
after fighting to the last with his short sword, escaped 
with some others to the woods near by, and was not cap- 
tured for nearly two months. When brought to trial, be 
pleaded " not guilty," feeling, as he said, that it was 
always right for one to strike for his own liberty. After 
going through a mere form of trial, he was convicted 
and executed at Jerusalem, the county-seat for South- 
hampton County, Va. Not a limb trembled, or a muscle 
was observed to move. Thus died Nat Turner, at the 
early age of 'thirty-one years, a martyr to the freedom 
of his race, and a victim to his own fanaticism. He 
meditated upon the wrongs of his oppressed and injured 
people till the idea of their deliverance excluded all 
other ideas from his mind ; and he devoted his life to its 
realization. Every thing appeared to him a vision, and 



THE NAT TURNER INSURRECTION. 25 

all favorable omens were signs from God. He foretold, 
that, at his death, the sun would refuse to shine, and that 
there would be signs of disapprobation given from 
Heaven. And it is true that the sun was darkened, a 
storm gathered, and more boisterous weather had never 
appeared in Southampton County than on the day of 
Nat's execution. The sheriff, warned by the prisoner, 
refused to cut the cord that held the trap. No black 
man would touch the rope. A poor old white man, long 
besotted by drink, was brought forty miles to be the 
executioner. 

Fifty-five whites and seventy-three blacks lost their 
lives in the Southampton Rebellion. On the fatal night, 
when Nat and his companions were dealing death to all 
they found, Capt. Harris, a wealthy planter, had his life 
saved by the devotion and timely warning of his slav6 
Jim, said to have been half-brother to his master. After 
the revolt had been put down, and parties of whites 
were out hunting the suspected blacks, Capt. Harris, 
with his faithful slave, went into the woods in search of 
the negroes. In saving his master's life, Jim felt that 
he had done his duty, and could not consent to become 
a betrayer of his race ; and, on reaching the woods, he 
handed his pistol to his master, and said, " I cannot 
help you hunt down these men: they, like myself, want 
to be free. Sir, I am tired of the life of a slave : please 
give me my freedom, or shoot me on the spot. 77 Capt. 
Harris took the weapon, and pointed it at the slave. Jim, 
putting his right hand upon his heart, said, " This is the 
spot ; aim here. 77 The captain fired, and the slave fell 
dead at his feet. 



CHAPTER IV. 

SLAVE REVOLT AT SEA. 

Madison Washington. — His Escape from the South. — His Love of Lib- 
erty. -— His Return. — His Capture. — The Brig " Creole." — The Slave- 
traders. — Capture of the Vessel. — Freedom of the Oppressed. 

The revolt on board of the brig " Creole/' on the high 
seas, by a number of slaves who had been shipped for 
the Southern market, in the year 1841, created at the 
time a profound sensation throughout the country. Be- 
fore entering upon it, however, I will introduce to the 
reader the hero of the occasion. 

Among the great number of fugitive slaves who ar- 
rived in Canada towards the close of the year 1840, 
was one whose tall figure, firm step, and piercing eye 
attract-ed at once the attention of all who beheld him. 
Nature had treated him as a favorite. His expressive 
countenance painted and reflected every emotion of his 
soul. There was a fascination in the gaze of his finely 
cut eyes that no one'could withstand. Born of African 
parentage, with no mixture in his blood, he was one of 
the handsomest of his race. His dignified, calm, and 
unaffected features announced at a glance that he was en- 
dowed with genius, and created to guide his fellow-men. 
He called himself Madison Washington, and said that his 
birthplace was in the " Old Dominion. 77 He might have 
been twenty-five years ; but very few slaves have any 
correct idea of their age. Madison was not poorly 

26 



SLAVE REVOLT AT SEA. 27 

dressed, and had some money at the end of his journey, 
which showed that he was not from amongst the worst- 
used slaves of the South. He immediately sought em- 
ployment at a neighboring farm, where he remained some 
months. A strong, able-bodied man, and a good worker, 
and apparently satisfied with his situation, his employer 
felt that he had a servant who would stay with him a 
long while. The farmer would occasionally raise a con- 
versation, and try to draw from Madisbn some account 
of his former life, but in this he failed ; for the fugitive 
was a man of few words, and kept his own secrets. His 
leisure hours were spent in learning to read and write ; 
and in this he seemed to take the utmost interest. He 
appeared to take no interest in the sports and amuse- 
ments that occupied the attention of others. Six months 
had not passed ere Madison began to show signs of dis- 
content. In vain his employer tried to discover the 
cause. 

" Do I not pay you enough, and treat you in a becom- 
ing manner?" asked Mr. Dickson one day when the fu- 
gitive seemed in a very desponding mood. 

" Yes, sir/ 7 replied Madison. 

" Then why do you appear so dissatisfied of late ? " 

u Well, sir/ 7 said the fugitive, u since you have treated 
me with such kindness, and seem to take so much inter- 
est in me, I will tell you the reason why I have changed, 
and appear to you to be dissatisfied. I was born in 
slavery, in the State of Virginia. From my earliest rec- 
ollections I hated slavery, and determined to be free. I 
have never yet called any man master, though I have 
been held by three different men who claimed me as 
their property. The birds in the trees and the wild 
beasts of the forest made me feel that I, like them, ought 



28 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

to be free. My feelings were all thus centred in the one 
idea of liberty, of which I thought by day and dreamed 
by night. I had scarcely reached my twentieth. year, 
when I'became acquainted with the angelic being who 
has since become my wife. It was my intention to have 
escaped with her before we were married, but circum- 
stances prevented. 

" I took her to my bosom as my wife, and then re- 
solved to make the attempt. But, unfortunately, my 
plans were discovered ; and, to save myself from being 
caught and sold off to the far South, I escaped to the 
woods, where I remained during many weary months. 
As I could not bring my wife away, I would not come 
without her. Another reason for remaining was that I 
hoped to get up an insurrection of the slaves, and 
thereby be the means of their liberation. In this, too, 
I failed. At last it was agreed, between my wife and I, 
that I should escape to Canada, get employment, save 
my earnings, and with it purchase her freedom. With 
the hope of attaining this end, I came into your service. 
I am now satisfied, that, with the wages I can command 
here, it will take me not less than five years to obtain 
by my labor the amount sufficient to purchase the lib- 
erty of my dear Susan. Five years will be too long for 
me to wait ; for she may die, or be sold away, ere I can 
raise the money. This, sir, makes me feel low spirited; 
and I have come to the rash determination to return to 
Virginia for my wife." 

The recital of the story had already brought tears to 

the eyes of the farmer, ere the fugitive had concluded. 

In vain did Mr. Dickson try to persuade Madison to give 

up the idea of going back into the very grasp of the 

.tyrant, and risking the loss of his own freedom without 



SLAVE REVOLT AT SEA. 29 

securing that of his wife. The heroic man had made up 
his mind, and nothing could move him. Receiving the 
amount of wages due him from his employer, Madison 
turned his face once more towards the South. Sup- 
plied with papers purporting to have been made out in 
Virginia, and certifying to his being a freeman, the fu- 
gitive had no difficulty in reaching the neighborhood of 
his wife. But these "free papers " were only calculated 
to serve him where he was not known. Madison had 
also provided himself with files, saws, and other imple- 
ments, with which to cut his way out of any prison into 
which he might be cast. These instruments were so 
small as to be easily concealed in the lining of his cloth- 
ing; and, armed with them, the fugitive felt sure he 
should escape again were he ever captured. On his re- 
turn, Madison met, in the State of Ohio, many of those 
whom he had seen on his journey to Canada ; and all 
tried to prevail upon him to give up the rash attempt. 
But to every one he would reply, "Liberty is worth 
nothing to me while my wife is a slave. " When near 
his former home, and unable to travel in open day with- 
out being detected, Madison betook himself to the woods 
during the day, and travelled by night. At last he ar- 
rived at the old farm at night, and hid away in the near- 
est forest. Here he remained several days, filled with 
hope and fear, without being able to obtain any infor- 
mation about his wife. One evening, during this sus- 
pense, Madison heard the singing of a .company of 
slaves, the sound of which appeared nearer and nearer, 
until he became convinced that it was a gang going to a 
corn-shucking; and the fugitive resolved that he would 
join it, and see if he could get any intelligence of his wife. 
In Virginia, as well as in most of the other corn-rais- 



30 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

ing slave-States, there is a custom of having what is 
termed " a corn-shucking/ 7 to which slaves from the 
neighboring plantations, with the consent of their mas- 
ters, are invited. At the conclusion of the shucking, a 
supper is provided by the owner of the corn ; and thus, 
together with the bad whiskey which is freely circu- 
lated on such occasions, the slaves are made to feel very 
happy. Four or five companies of men may be heard 
in different directions, and at the same time, approaching 
the place of rendezvous ; slaves joining the gangs along 
the roads as they pass their masters 7 farms. Madison 
came out upon the highway ; and, as the company came 
along singing, he fell into the ranks, and joined in the 
song. Through the darkness of the night he was able 
to keep from being recognized by the remainder of the 
company, while he learned from the general conversa- 
tion the most important news of the day. 

Although hungry and thirsty, the fugitive dared not 
go to the supper-table for fear of recognition. However, 
before he left the company that night, he gained infor- 
mation enough to satisfy him that his wife was still with 
her old master; and he-hoped to see her, if possible, on 
the following night. The sun had scarcely set the next 
evening, ere Madison was wending his way out of the 
forest, and going towards the home of his loved one, if 
the slave can be said to have a home. Susan, the ob- 
ject of his affections, was indeed a woman every way 
worthy of his love. Madison knew well where to find 
the room usually occupied by his wife, and to that spot 
he made his way on arriving at the plantation ; but, in 
his zeal and enthusiasm,, and his being too confident of 
success, he committed a blunder which nearly cost him 
his life. Fearful that if he waited until a late hour, 



SLAVE REVOLT AT SEA. - 31 

Susan would be asleep, and in awakening her she would 
in her fright alarm the household, Madison ventured to 
her room too early in the evening, before the whites in 
the " great house " had retired. Observed by the over- 
seer, a sufficient number of whites were called in, and the 
fugitive secured ere he could escape with his wife ; but 
the heroic slave did not yield until he with a club had 
laid three of his assailants upon the ground with his 
manly blows ; and not then until weakened by loss of 
blood. Madison was at once taken to Richmond, and 
sold to a slave-trader, then making up a gang of slaves 
for the New-Orleans market. 

The brig " Creole/' owned by Johnson & Eperson of 
Richmond, and commanded by Capt. Enson, lay at the 
Richmond dock, waiting for her cargo, which usually 
consisted of tobacco, hemp, flax, and slaves. There 
were two cabins for the slaves, — one for the men, the 
other for the women. The men were generally kept in 
chains while on the voyage ; but the women were usu- 
ally unchained, and allowed to roam at pleasure in their 
own cabin. On the 27th of October, 1841, " The Creole " 
sailed from Hampton Roads, bound for New Orleans, 
with her full load of freight, a hundred and thirty-five 
slaves, and three passengers, besides the crew. Forty 
of the slaves were owned by Thomas McCargo, nine be- 
longed to Henry Hewell, and the remainder were held 
by Johnson & Eperson. Hewell had once been an over- 
seer for McCargo, and on this occasion was acting as 
his agent. 

Among the slaves owned by Johnson & Eperson, 
was Madison Washington. He was heavily ironed, and 
chained down to the floor of the cabin occupied by the 
men, which was in the forward hold. As it was known 



32 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

by Madison's purchasers that he had once escaped, and 
had been in Canada, they kept a watchful eye over him. 
The two cabins were separated, so that the men and 
women had no communication whatever during the 
passage. 

Although rather gloomy at times, Madison on this oc- 
casion seemed very cheerful, and his owners thought 
that he had repented of the experience he had under- 
gone as a runaway, and in the future would prove a 
more easily-governed chattel. But, from the first hour 
that he had entered the cabin of " The Creole," Madison 
had been busily engaged in the selection of men who 
were to act parts in the great drama. He picked out 
each one as if by intuition. Every thiijg was done at 
night and in the dark, as far as the preparation was con- 
cerned. The miniature saws and files were faithfully 
used when the whites were asleep. 

In the other cabin, among the slave-women, was one 
whose beauty at once attracted attention. Though not 
tall, she yet had a majestic figure. Her well-moulded 
shoulders, prominent bust, black hair which hung in 
ringlets, mild blue eyes, finely-chiselled mouth, with a 
splendid set of teeth, a turned and well-rounded chin, 
skin marbled with the animation of life, and veined by 
blood given to her by her master, she stood as the repre- 
sentative of two races. With only one-eighth of African 
blood, she was what is called at the South an " octoroon." 
It was said that her grandfather had served his country 
in the Revolutionary War, as well as in both Houses of 
Congress. This was Susan, the wife of Madison. Few 
slaves, even among the best-used house-servants, had so 
good an opportunity to gain general information as she. 

Accustomed to travel with her mistress, Susan had of- 



SLAVE REVOLT AT SEA. 33 

ten been to Richmond, Norfolk, White-Sulphur Springs_, 
and other places of resort for the aristocracy of the Old 
Dominion. Her language was far more correct than that 
of most slaves in her position. Susan was as devoted to 
Madison as she was beautiful and accomplished. 

After the arrest of her husband, and his confinement 
in Richmond jail, it was suspected that Susan had long 
been in possession of the knowledge of his whereabouts 
when in Canada, and knew of his being in the neighbor- 
hood ; and for this crime it was resolved that she should 
be sold, and sent off to a Southern plantation, where alfr 
hope of escape would be at an end. Each was not 
aware that the other was on board " The Creole ; " for 
Madison and Susan were taken to their respective 
cabins at different times. On the ninth day out, " The 
Creole " encountered a rough sea, and most of the 
slaves were sick, and therefore were not watched with 
that vigilance that they had been since she first sailed. 
This was the time for Madison and his accomplices to 
work, and nobly did they perform their duty. Night 
came on, the first watch had just been summoned, the 
wind blowing high, when Madison succeeded in reach- 
ing the quarter-deck, followed by eighteen others, all of 
whom sprang to different parts of the vessel, seizing 
whatever they could wield as weapons. The crew were 
nearly all on deck. Capt. Enson and Mr. Merritt, the 
first mate, were standing together, while Hewell was 
seated on the companion, smoking a cigar. The appear- 
ance of the slaves all at once, and the loud voice and 
commanding attitude of their leader, so completely sur- 
prised the whites, that — 

" They spake not a word ; 
But, like dumb statues or breathless stones, 
Stared at each other, and looked deadly pale." 



34 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

The officers were all armed ; but so swift were the 
motions of Madison that they had nearly lost command 
of the vessel before they attempted to use them. 

Hewell, the greater part of whose life had been spent 
on the plantation in the capacity of a negro-driver, and 
who knew that the defiant looks of these men meant 
something, was the first to start. Drawing his old horse- 
pistol from under his coat, he fired at one of the blacks, 
and killed him. The next moment Hewell lay dead upon 
the deck, for Madison had struck him with a capstan bar. 
The fight now became general, the white passengers, as 
well as all the crew, taking part. The battle was Madi- 
son's element, and he plunged into it without any care 
for his own preservation or safety. He was an instru- 
ment of enthusiasm, whose value and whose place was 
in his inspiration. " If the fire of heaven was in my 
hands, I would throw it at those cowardly whites/' said 
he to his companions, before leaving their cabin. But 
in this he did not mean revenge, only the possession of 
his freedom and that of his fellow-slaves. Merritt and 
Gifford, the first and second mates of the vessel, both 
attacked the heroic slave at the same time. Both were 
stretched out upon the deck with a single blow each, 
but were merely wounded : they were disabled, and that 
was all that Madison cared for for the time being. The 
sailors ran up the rigging for safety, and a moment more 
he that had worn the fetters an hour before was master 
of the brig " Creole." His commanding attitude and dar- 
ing orders, now that he was free, and his perfect prepara- 
tion for the grand alternative of liberty or death which 
stood before him, are splendid exemplifications of 
the true heroic. After his accomplices had covered the 
slaver's deck, Madison forbade the shedding of more 
blood, and ordered the sailors to come down, which they 



SLAVE REVOLT AT SEA. 35 

did, and with his own hands dressed their wounds. A 
guard was placed over all except Merritt, who was re- 
tained to navigate the vessel. With a musket doubly 
charged, and pointed at Merritt's breast, the slaves made 
him swear that he would safely take the brig into a 
British port. All things now secure, and the white men 
in chains or under guard, Madison ordered that the fet- 
ters should be severed from the limbs of those slaves 
who still wore them. The next morning " Capt. Wash- 
ington" (for such was the name he now bore) ordered 
the cook to provide the best breakfast that the store- 
room could furnish, intending to surprise his fellow- 
slaves, and especially the females, whom he had not yet 
seen. But little did he think that the woman for whom 
he had risked his liberty and life w T ould meet him at the 
breakfast-table. The meeting of the hero and his beau- 
tiful and accomplished wife, the tears of joy shed, and 
the hurrahs that followed from the men, can better be 
imagined than described. Madison's cup of joy was 
filled to the brim. He had not only gained his own lib- 
erty, and that of one hundred and thirty-four others, but 
his dear Susan was safe. Only one man, Hewell, had 
been killed. Capt. Enson, and others who were wounded, 
soon recovered, and were kindly treated by Madison, 
and for which they proved ungrateful ; for, on the second 
night, Capt. Enson, Mr. G-ifford, and Merritt, took advan- 
tage of the absence of Madison from the deck, and 
attempted to retake the vessel* The slaves, exasperated 
at this treachery, fell upon the whites with deadly 
weapons. The captain and his men fled to the cabin, 
pursued by the blacks. Nothing but the heroism of the 
negro leader saved the lives of the white men on this 
occasion ; for, as the slaves were rushing into the cabin, 



36 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

Madison threw himself between them and their victims, 
exclaiming, " Stop ! no more blood. My life, that was 
perilled for your liberty, I will lay down for the protec- 
tion of these men. They have proved themselves un- 
worthy of life which we granted them ; still let us be 
magnanimous." By the kind heart and noble bearing 
of -Madison, the vile slave-traders were again permitted 
to go unwhipped of justice. This act of humanity raised 
the uncouth son of Africa far above his Anglo-Saxon 
oppressors. 

The next morning " The Creole" landed at Nassau, New 
Providence, where the noble and heroic slaves were 
warmly greeted by the inhabitants, who at once offered 
protection, and extended hospitality to them. 

But the noble heroism of Madison Washington and his 
companions found no applause from the Government, 
then in the hands of the slaveholders. Daniel Webster, 
then Secretary of State, demanded of the British author- 
ities the surrender of these men, claiming that they 
were murderers and pirates : the English, however, 
could not see the point. 

Had the " Creole" revolters been white, and committed 
their noble act of heroism in another land, the people of 
the United States would have been the first to recognize 
their claims. The efforts of Denmark Vesey, Nat Turner, 
and Madison Washington to strike the chains of slavery 
from the limbs of their enslaved race will live in history, 
and will warn all tyrants to beware of the wrath of God 
and the strong arm of man. 

Every iniquity that society allows to subsist for the 
benefit of the oppressor is a sword with which she her- 
self arms the oppressed. Bight is the most dangerous 
of weapons : woe to him who leaves it to his enemies. 



CHAPTER V. 

GROWTH OF THE SLAVE-POWER. 

Introduction of the Cotton-gin. — Its effect on Slavery. — Fugitive Slave 
Law. — Anthony Burns. — The Dred Scott Decision. — Imprisonment 
for reading " Uncle Tom's Cabin." — Struggles with Slavery. 

The introduction of the cotton-gin into the South, by 
Whitney of Connecticut, had materially enhanced the 
value of slave property ; the emancipation societies of 
Virginia and Maryland had ceased to petition their Leg- 
islatures for the " Gradual Emancipation " of the slaves ; 
and the above two States had begun to make slave-rais- 
ing a profitable business, when the American Antisla- 
very Society was formed in the city of Philadelphia, in 
the year 1833. The agitation of the question in Con- 
gress, the mobbing of William Lloyd Garrison in Boston, 
the murder of the Rev. E. P. Lovejoy in Illinois, and the 
attempt to put down free speech throughout the coun- 
try, only hastened the downfall of the institution. 

In the earlier days of the Antislavery movement, not 
a year, sometimes hardly a month, passed that did not 
bear upon its record the report of mobs, almost always 
ferocious in spirit, and sometimes cruel and blood-stained 
in act. It was the first instinctive and brutal response 
of a proslavery people convicted of guilt and called to 
repentance ; and it was almost universal. Wherever anti- 
slavery was preached, honestly, and effectually, there 
the mobocratic spirit followed it ; so that, in those times, 

37 



38 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

he who escaped this ordeal was, with some justice, held 
to be either inefficient or unfaithful. Hardly a town or 
city, from Alton to Portland, where much antislavery 
labor was bestowed, in the first fifteen years of this en- 
terprise, that was not the scene of one of these attempts 
to crush all free discussion of the subject of slavery by 
violence or bloodshed. Hardly one of the earlier public 
advocates of the cause that was not made to suffer, 
either in person or in property, or in both, from popular 
violence, — the penalty of obedience to the dictates of 
his own conscience. Nor was this all: official counte- 
nance was often given to the mad proceedings of the 
mob ; or, if not given, its protection was withheld from 
those who were the objects of popular hatred; and, as 
if this were not enough, legislation was invoked to the 
same end. It was suggested to the Legislature of one 
of the Southern States, that a large reward be offered 
for the head of a citizen of Massachusetts who was the 
pioneer in the modern antislavery movement. A simi- 
lar reward was offered for the head of a citizen of New 
York. Yet so foul an insult excited neither the popular 
indignation nor legislative resentment in either of those 
States. 

Great damage was done to the cause of Christianity 
by the position assumed on the question of slavery by 
the American churches, and especially those in the 
Southern States. Think of a religious kidnapper! a 
Christian slave-breeder ! a slave-trader, loving his neigh- 
bor as himself, receiving the " sacraments n in some 
Protestant church from the hand of a Christian apostle, 
then the next day selling babies by the dozen, and tear- 
ing young women from the arms of their husbands to 
feed the lust of lecherous New Orleans ! Imagine a 



GROWTH OF THE SLAVE-POWER. 39 

religious man selling his own children into eternal bond- 
age ! Think of a Christian defending slavery out of the 
Bible, and declaring there is no higher law, but atheism 
is the first principle of Eepublican Government ! 

Yet this was the stand taken, and maintained, by the 
churches in the slave States down to the day that Lee 
surrendered to Grant. 

One of the bitterest fruits of slavery in our land is the 
cruel spirit of caste, which makes the complexion even 
of the free negro a badge of social inferiority, exposing 
him to insult in the steamboat and the railcar, and in all 
places of public resort, not even excepting the church ; 
banishing him from remunerative occupations ; expell- 
ing him from the legislative hall, the magistrate's bench, 
and the jury-box ; and crushing his noblest aspirations 
under a weight of prejudice and proscription which he 
struggles in vain to throw off. Against this unchristian 
and hateful spirit, every lover of liberty should enter hib 
solemn protest. This hateful prejudice caused the 
breaking up of the school pf Miss Prudence Crandall, in 
the State of Connecticut, in the early days of the anti- 
slavery agitation. 

Next came the burning of Pennsylvania Hall, one of 
the most beautiful edifices in the City of Brotherly Love, 
simply because colored persons were permitted to oc- 
cupy seats by the side of whites. 

The enactment by Congress of the Fugitive Slave 
Law caused the friends of freedom, both at home and 
abroad, to feel that the General Government was fast 
becoming the bulwark of slavery. The rendition of 
Thomas Sims, and still later that of Anthony Burns, was, 
indeed, humiliating in the extreme to the people of the 
Northern States. 



40 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

On that occasion, the sons of free, enlightened, and 
Christian Massachusetts, descendants of the Pilgrim 
Fathers, bowed submissively to the behests of a tyranny 
more cruel than Austrian despotism ; yielded up their 
dignity and self-respect ; became the allies of slave- 
catchers, the associates and companions of bloodhounds. 
At the bidding of slaveholders and serviles, they seized 
the image of God, bound their fellow-man with chains, 
and consigned him to torture and premature death under 
the lash of a piratical overseer. God's law and man's 
rights were trampled upon ; the self-respect, the consti- 
tutional privileges, of the free States, were ignominiously 
surrendered. A people who resisted a paltry tax upon 
tea, at the cannon's mouth, basely submitted to an impo- 
sition tenfold greater, in favor of brutalizing their fellow- 
men. Soil which had been moistened with the blood of 
American patriots was polluted by the footsteps of slave- 
catchers and their allies. 

The Boston Court House in chains, two hundred row- 
dies and thieves sworn in as special policemen, respect- 
able citizens shoved off the side-walks by these slave- 
catchers ; all for the purpose of satisfying " our brethren 
of the South." But this act did not appease the feel- 
ings, or satisfy the demands, of the slave-holders, while it 
still further inflamed the fire of abolitionism. 

The " Dred Scott Decision " added fresh combustibles 
to the smouldering heap. Dred Scott, a slave, taken 
by his master into free Illinois, and then beyond the line 
of 36° 30', and then back into Missouri, sued for and ob- 
tained his freedom on the ground, that, having been taken 
where by the Constitution slavery was illegal, his master 
had lost all claim. But the Supreme Court, on appeal, 
reversed the judgment; and Dred Scott, with his wife 



GROWTH OF THE SLAVE-POWER. 41 

and children, was taken back into slavery. By this de- 
cision in the highest court of American law, it was 
affirmed that no free negro could claim to be a citizen of 
the United States, but was only under the jurisdiction of 
the separate State in which he resided ; that the prohi- 
bition of slavery in any Territory of the Union was un- 
constitutional ; and that the slave-owner might go where 
he pleased with his property, throughout the United 
States, and retain his right. 

This decision created much discussion, both in America 
and in Europe, and materially injured the otherwise good 
name of our country abroad. 

The Constitution, thus interpreted by Judge Taney, be- 
came the emblem of the tyrants and the winding sheet 
of liberty, and gave a boldness to the people of the South, 
which soon showed itself, while good men at the North 
felt ashamed of the Government under which they lived. 

The slave-holders in the cotton, sugar, and rice grow- 
ing States began to urge the re-opening of the African 
slave-trade, and the driving out from the Southern States 
of all free colored persons. 

In the Southern Rights' Convention, which assembled 
at Baltimore, June 8, 1860, a resolution was adopted, 
calling on the Legislature to pass a law driving the free 
colored people out of the State. Nearly every speaker 
took the ground that the free colored people must be 
driven out to make the slave's obedience more secure. 
Judge Mason, in his speech, said, "It is the thrifty and 
well-to-do free negroes, that are seen by our slaves, that 
make them dissatisfied." A similar appeal was made to 
the Legislature of Tennessee. Judge Catron, of the Su- 
preme Court of the United States, in a long and able 
letter to " The Nashville Union/' opposed the driving out 



42 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

of the colored people. He said they were among the 
best mechanics, the best artisans, and the most indus- 
trious laborers in the State, and that to drive them out 
would be an injury to the State itself. This is certainly 
good evidence in their behalf. 

The State of Arkansas passed a law driving the free 
colored people out of the State, and they were driven 
out three years ago. The Democratic press howled upon 
the heels of the free blacks until they had all been expa- 
triated ; but, after they had been driven out, "The Little 
Rock Gazette " — a Democratic paper — made a candid 
acknowledgment with regard to the character of the 
free colored people. It said, " Most of the exiled free 
negroes are industrious and respectable. One of them, 
Henry King, we have known from our boyhood, and take 
the greatest pleasure in testifying to his good character. 
The community in which he casts his lot will be blessed 
with that noblest work of God, an honest man." 

Yet these free colored people were driven out of the 
State, and those who were unable to go, as many of the 
women and children were, were reduced to slavery. 

" The New Orleans True Delta " opposed the passage of 
a "similar law by the State of Louisiana. Among other 
things, it said, " There are a large free colored popu- 
lation here, correct in their general deportment, honor- 
able in their intercourse with society, and free from re- 
proach so far as the laws are concerned ; not surpassed in 
the inoffensiveness of. their lives by any equal number of 
persons in any place, North or South." 

And yet these free colored persons were not permitted 
by law to school their children, or to read books that 
treated against the institution of slavery. The Rev. 
Samuel Green, a colored Methodist preacher, was con- 



GROWTH OF THE SLAVE-POWER. 43 

victed and sent to the Maryland penitentiary, in 1858, 
for the offence of being found reading " Uncle Tom's 
Cabin." 

The growth of the u Free-Soil " party, which had 
taken the place of the " Liberty " party ; and then the 
rapid increase of the " Eepublican " party ; the struggle 
in Kansas ; the " Oberlin Rescue Trials;" and, lastly, the 
u John Brown Raid/' carried the discussion of slavery to 
its highest point. 

All efforts, in Congress, in the proslavery political 
conventions, and in the churches, only added fuel to the 
flame that was fast making inroads upon the vitals of 
the monster. 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE JOHN BEOWN RAID. 

John Brown. — His Religious Zeal. — His Hatred to Slavery. — Organi- 
zation of his Army. — Attack on Harper's Ferry. — His Execution. — - 
John Brown's Companions, Green and Copeland. — The Executions. 

The year 1859 will long be memorable for the bold 
attempt of John Brown and his companions to burst the 
bolted door of the Southern house of bondage, and lead 
out the captives by a more effectual way than they had 
yet known: an attempt in which, it is true, the little 
band of heroes dashed themselves to bloody death, but, 
at the same time, shook the prison-walls from summit to 
foundation, and shot wild alarm into every tyrant-heart 
in all the slave-land. What were the plans and purposes 
of the noble old man is not precisely known, and per- 
haps will never be ; but, whatever they were, there is 
reason to believe they had been long maturing, — brooded 
over silently and secretly, with much earnest thought, 
and under a solemn sense of religious duty. As early as 
the fall of 1857, he began to organize his band, chiefly 
from among the companions of his warfare against the 
"Border Ruffians " in Kansas. Nine or ten of these spent 
the winter of 1857-8 in Iowa, where a Col. Forbes was 
to have given them military instruction; but he, having 
fallen out with Brown, did not join them, and Aaron D. 
Stevens, one of the company, took his place. 

About the middle of April, 1858, they left Iowa, and 
went to Chatham, Canada, where, on the 8th of May, was 

44 



THE JOHN BROWN RAID. 45 

held a convention, called by a written circular, which 
was sent to such persons only as could be trusted. The 
convention was composed mostly of colored men, a few 
of whom were from the States, but the greater part resi- 
dents in Canada, with no white men but the organized 
band already mentioned. A " Provisional Constitution/' 
which Brown had previously prepared, was adopted; and 
the members of the convention took an oath to support 
it. Its manifest purpose was to insure a perfect organ- 
ization of all who should join the expedition, whether 
. free men or insurgent slaves, and to hold them under 
such strict control as to restrain them from every act of 
wanton or vindictive violence, all waste or needless 
destruction of life or property, all indignity or unneces- 
sary severity to prisoners, and all immoral practices; in 
short, to keep the meditated movement free from every 
possibly avoidable evil ordinarily incident to the armed 
uprising of a long-oppressed and degraded people. 

And let no one who glories in the revolutionary strug- 
gles of our fathers for their freedom deny the right of the 
American bondsman to imitate their high example. And 
those who rejoice in the deeds of a Wallace or a Tell, a 
Washington or a Warren ; who cherish with unbounded 
gratitude the name of Lafayette for volunteering his aid 
in behalf of an oppressed people in a desperate crisis, 
and at the darkest hour of their fate, — cannot refuse 
equal merit to this strong, free, heroic man, who freely 
consecrated all his powers, and the labors of his whole 
life, to the help of the most needy, friendless, and unfor- 
tunate of mankind. 

The picture of the Good Samaritan will live to all 
future ages, as the model of human excellence, for help- 
ing one whom he chanced to find in need. 



46 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

f 

John Brown did more: he went to seek those who 
were lost that he might save them. 

On Sunday night, Oct. 16, John Brown, with 
twenty followers (five of them colored), entered the 
town of Harper's Ferry, in the State of Virginia ; cap- 
tured the place, making the United-States Armory his 
headquarters ; sent his men in various directions in 
search of slaves with which to increase his force. 

The whole thing, though premature in its commence- 
ment, struck a blow that rang on the fetters of the en- 
slaved in every Southern State, and caused the oppressor 
to tremble for his own safety, as well as for that of the 
accursed institution. 

John Brown's trial, heroism, and execution, an excel- 
lent history of which has been given to the public by 
Mr. James Redpath, saves me from making any length- 
ened statement here. His life and acts are matters of 
history, which will live with the language in which it is 
written. But little can be said of his companions in the 
raid on slavery. They were nearly all young men, un- 
known to fame, enthusiastic admirers of the old Puritan, 
entering heartily into all of his plans, obeying his orders, 
and dying bravely, with no reproach against their 
leader. 

Of the five colored men, two only were captured alive, — 
Shields Green and John A. Copeland. The former 
was a native of South Carolina, having been born in 
the city of Charleston in the year 1832. Escaping to the 
North in 1857, he resided in Rochester, N.Y., until at- 
tracted by the unadorned eloquence and native magnet- 
ism of the hero of Harper's Ferry. The latter was 
from North Carolina, and was a mulatto of superior 
abilities, and a genuine lover of liberty and justice. The 



THE JOHN BROWN RAID. 47' 

following letter, written a short time before his execu- 
tion, needs no explanation : — 

" Charlestown, Va., Dec. 10, 1859. 

" My dear Brother, — I now take my pen to write you 
a few lines to let you know how I am, and in answer to 
your kind letter of the 5th inst. Dear brother, I am, it 
is true, so situated at present as scarcely to know how 
to commence writing : not that my mind is filled with 
fear, or that it has become shattered in view of my near 
approach to death ; not that I am terrified by the gallows 
which I see staring me in the face, and upon which I am 
so soon to stand and suffer death for doing what George 
Washington, the so-called father of this great but slavery- 
cursed country, was made a hero for doing while he 
lived, and when dead his name was immortalized, and 
his great and noble deeds in behalf of freedom taught 
by parents to their children. And now, brother, for 
having lent my aid to a general no less brave, and en- 
gaged in a cause no less honorable and glorious, I am to 
suffer death. Washington entered the field to fight for 
the freedom of the American people, — not for the white 
man alone, but for both black and white. Nor were they 
white men alone who fought for the freedom of this 
country. The blood of black men flowed as freely as 
that of white men. Yes, the very first blood that was 
spilt was that nof a negro. It was the blood of that 
heroic man (though black he was), Crispus Attucks. 
And some of the very last blood shed was that of black 
men. To the truth of this, history, though prejudiced, 
is compelled to attest. It is true that black men did an 
equal share of the fighting for American independence ; 
and they were assured by the whites that they should 



>48 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

share equal benefits for so doing. But, after having 
performed their part honorably, they were by the 
whites most treacherously deceived, — they refusing to 
fulfil their part of the contract. But this you know 
as well as I do ; and I will therefore say no more in 
reference to the claims which we, as colored men, 
have on the American people. . . . 
• " It was a sense of the wrongs which we have suffered 
that prompted the noble but unfortunate Capt. Brown 
and his associates to attempt to give freedom to a small 
number, at least, of those who are now held by cruel 
and unjust laws, and by no less cruel and unjust 
men. To this freedom they were entitled by every 
known principle of justice and humanity ; and, for the 
enjoyment of it, God created them. And now, dear 
brother, could I die in a more noble cause ? Could I, 
brother, die in a manner and for a cause which would 
induce true and honest men more to honor me, and the 
angels more readily to receive me to their happy home 
of everlasting jcy above ? I imagine that I hear you, 
and all of you, mother, father, sisters and brothers, say, 
" No, there is not a cause for which we, with less sorrow, 
could see you die ! " 

" Your affectionate brother, 

"John A. Copeland." 

" The Baltimore Sun " says, " A few moments before 
leaving the jail, Copeland said, l If I am dying for free- 
dom, I could not die for a better cause. / had rather 
die than be a slave I ' A military officer in charge on 
the day of the execution says, 'I had a position near the 
gallows, and carefully observed all. I can truly say 
I never witnessed more firm and unwavering fortitude, 



THE JOHN BROWN RAID. 49 

more perfect composure, or more beautiful propriety, 
than were manifested by young Copeland to the very 
last.' " 

Shields Green behaved with equal heroism, ascending 
the scaffold with a firm and unwavering step, and died, 
as he had lived, a brave man, and expressing to the last 
his eternal hatred to human bondage, prophesying that 
slavery would soon come to a bloody end. 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE FIRST GUN OF THE REBELLION. 

Nomination of Fremont. — Nomination of Lincoln. — The Mob Spirit. — 
Spirit of Slavery. — The Democracy. — Cotton. — Northern Promises 
to the Rebels. — Assault on Fort Sumter. — Call for 75,000 Men. — 
Response of the Colored Men. 

The nomination of John C. Fremont by the Republi- 
can party in 1856, and the large vote given him at the 
election that autumn, cleared away all doubts, if any ex- 
isted, as to the future action of the Federal Government 
on the spread and power of slavery. The Democratic 
party, which had ruled the nation so long and so badly, 
saw that it had been weighed, and found wanting; that it 
must prepare to give up the Government into the hands 
of better men. 

But the party determined to make the most of Mr. 
Buchanan's administration, both in the profuse expendi- 
ture of money among themselves, and in getting ready 
to take the Southern States out of the Union. 

Surrounded by the men who believed that the Gov- 
ernment was made for them, and that their mission was 
to rule the people of the United States, Mr. Buchanan 
was nothing more than a tool, — clay in the hands of the 
potters ; and he permitted them to prepare leisurely for 
disunion, which culminated, in 1860, in the nomination 
of Abraham Lincoln for the presidency. 

The proslavery Democracy became furious at the 

50 



THE FIRST GUN OF THE REBELLION. 51 

prospect of losing the control of the situation, and their 
hatred of free speech was revived. From the nomina- 
tion of Mr. Lincoln to his inauguration, mob-law ruled 
in most of the cities and large villages. These disgrace- 
ful scenes, the first of which commenced at the anti- 
slavery meeting at the Tremont Temple, Boston, was 
always gotten up by members of the Democratic party, 
who usually passed a series of resolutions in favor of 
slavery. New York, Philadelphia, Albany, Buffalo, 
Troy, Cincinnati, and Chicago, all followed the example 
set by Boston. 

These demonstrations were caused more by sympathy 
with the South, and the long-accustomed subserviency 
of the Northern people to slaveholding dictation, than to 
any real hatred to the negro. 

During all this time the Abolitionists were laboring 
faithfully to widen the gulf between the North and 
South. 

Towards the close of the year 1860, the spirit of com- 
promise began to show itself in such unmistakable terms 
as to cause serious apprehension on the part of the 
friends of freedom for the future of American liberty. 
The subdued tone of the liberal portion of the press, the 
humiliating offers of Northern political leaders of com- 
promises, and the numerous cases of fugitive slaves 
being returned to their masters, sent a thrill of fear to 
all colored men in the land for their safety, and nearly 
every train going North found more or less negroes 
fleeing to Canada. 

At the South, the people were in earnest, and would 
listen to no proposals whatever in favor of their contin- 
uance in the Union. 

The vast wealth realized by the slave-holder had 



52 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

made him feel that the South was independent of the 
rest of the world. 

Prosperity had made him giddy. Cotton was not 
merely king : it was God. Moral considerations were 
nothing. The sentiment of right, he argued, would have 
no influence over starving operatives ; and England and 
France, as well as the Eastern States of the Union, 
would stand aghast, and yield to the masterstroke which 
should deprive them of the material of their labor. 
Millions were dependent on it in all the great centres of 
civilization ; and the ramifications of its power extended 
into all ranks of society and all departments of industry 
and commerce. It was only necessary to wave this im- 
perial sceptre over the nations ; and all of them would 
fall prostrate, and acknowledge the supremacy of the 
power which wielded it. Nothing could be more plausible 
than this delusion. Satan himself, when about to wage 
war in heaven, could not have invented one better cal- 
culated to marshal his hosts, and give promise of success 
in rebellion against the authority of the Most High. 
But, alas! the supreme error of this anticipation^ lay in 
omitting from the calculation all power of principle. 
The right still has authority over the minds of men and 
in the counsels of nations. Factories may cease their 
din ; men and women may be thrown out of employ- 
ment; the marts of commerce may be silent and desert- 
ed: but truth and justice still command some respect 
among men; and God yet remains the object of their 
adoration. 

Drunk with power, and dazzled with prosperity, mo- 
nopolizing cotton, and raising it to the influence of a 
veritable fetich, the authors of the Rebellion did not ad- 
mit a doubt of the success of their attack on the Fed- 



THE FIRST GUN OP THE REBELLION. 53 

eral Government. They dreamed of perpetuating sla- 
very, though all history shows the decline of the system 
as industry, commerce, and knowledge advance. The 
slave-holders proposed nothing less than to reverse the 
currents of humanity, and to make barbarism flourish in 
the bosom of civilization. 

Weak as were the Southern people in point of num- 
bers and political power, compared with those of the 
opposite section, the haughty slave-holders easily per- 
suaded themselves and their dependents that they could 
successfully cope in arms with the Northern adversary, 
whom they affected to despise for his cowardly and mer- 
cenary disposition. Proud and confident, they indulged 
the belief that their great political prestige would con- 
tinue to serve them among their late party associates in 
the North, and that the counsels of the adversary would 
be distracted, and his power weakened, by the fatal 
effects of dissension. 

The proslavery men in the North are very much to 
blame for the encouragement that they gave the rebels 
before the breaking out of flie war. The Southerners 
had promises from their Northern friends, that, in the 
event of a rebellion, civil war should reign in the free 
States, — that men would not be permitted to leave the 
North to go South to put down their rebellious brethren. 

All legitimate revolutions are occasioned by the 
growth of society beyond the growth of government ; 
and they will be peaceful or violent just in proportion 
as the people and government shall be wise and virtu- 
ous or vicious and ignorant. Such revolutions or re- 
forms are generally of a peaceful nature in communities 
in which the government has made provision for the 
gradual expansion of its institutions to suit the onward 



54 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

march of society. No government is wise in overlook 
ing, whatever may be the strength of its own traditions, 
or however glorious its history, that human institutions 
which have been adapted for a barbarous age or state 
of society will cease to be adapted for more civilized 
and intelligent times ; and, unless government makes a 
provision for the gradual expansion, nothing can pre- 
vent a storm, either of an intellectual or a physical 
nature. Slavery was always the barbarous institution 
of America; and the Rebellion was the result of this 
incongruity between it and freedom. 

The assault on Fort Sumter on the 12tlv0fS^ril) 
1861, was the dawn of a new era for the^-nfegro. The 
proclamation of President Lincoln, calling for the first 
75,000 men to put down the Rebellion, was responded to 
by the colored people throughout the country. In Bos- 
ton, at a public meeting of the blacks, a large number 
came forward, put their names to an agreement to form 
a brigade, and march at once to the seat of war. A 
committee waited on the Governor three days later, 
and offered the services of these men. His Excellency 
replied that he had no power to receive them. This 
was the first wet blanket thrown over the negro's en- 
thusiasm. "This is a white man's war/' said most of 
the public journals. "I will never fight by the side of a 
nigger," was heard in every quarter where men were 
seen in Uncle Sam's uniform. 

Wherever recruiting offices were opened, black men 
offered themselves, and were rejected. Yet these peo- 
ple, feeling conscious that right would eventually pre- 
vail, waited patiently for the coming time, pledging 
themselves to go at their country's call, as the following 
will show : — 



THE FIRST GUN OF THE REBELLION. 55 

u Resolved, That our feelings urge us to say to our 
countrymen that we are ready to stand by and defend 
the Government as the equals of its white defenders ; 
to do so with " our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred 
honor," for the sake of freedom and as good citizens ; 
and we ask you to modify your laws, that we may en- 
list, — that full scope may be given to the patriotic feel- 
ings burning in the colored man's breast." — Colored 
Men's Meeting 7 Boston" 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE UNION AND SLAVERY IjOTH TO BE PRESERVED, 




Union Generals offer to suppress Slave Insurrections. -— JJerarn of Slaves 

coming into our Army. 



At the very commencement of the Rebellion, the pro- 
slavery generals in the field took the earliest opportu- 
nity of offering their services, together with those 
•under their commands, to suppress any slave insurrec- 
tion that might grow out of the unsettled condition of 
the country. Major-Gen. B. P. Butler led off, by ten- 
dering his services to Gov. Hicks of Maryland* About 
the same time, Major-Gen. Geo. B. McClellan issued the 
following, " To the Union Men of Western Virginia" on 
entering that portion of the State with his troops : — 

"The General Government cannot close its ears to 
the demands you have made for assistance. I have or- 
dered troops to cross the river. They come as your 
friends and brothers, — as enemies only to the armed 
rebels who are preying upon you. Your homes, your 
families, your property, are safe under our protection. 
All your rights shall be religiously respected. Notwith- 
standing all that has been said by the traitors to induce 
you to believe our advent among you will be signalled 
by an interference with your slaves, understand one 

66 



UNION AND SLAVERY BOTH TO BE PRESERVED. 57 

thing clearly: not only will we abstain from all such 
interference, but we shall, on the contrary, with an iron 
hand, crush any attempt at insurrection on their part." 

Slaves escaping from their masters were promptly 
returned by the officers of the army. Gen. W. S. 
Harney, commanding in Missouri, in responding to the 
claims of slave-holders for their blacks, said, — 

" Already, since the commencement of these unhappy 
disturbances, slaves have escaped from their owners, 
and have sought refuge in the camps of United-States 
troops from the Northern States, and commanded by a 
Northern general. They were carefully sent back to their 
owners. 

The correspondent of " The New- York Herald " gave 
publicity to the following : — 

"The guard on the bridge across the Anacostia ar- 
rested a negro who attempted to pass the sentries on the 
Maryland side. He seemed to feel confident that he was 
among friends, for he made no concealment of his charac- 
ter and purpose. He said he had walked sixty miles, 
and was going North. He was very much surprised and 
disappointed when he was taken into custody, and in- 
formed that he would be sent b/ick to his master. He is 
now in the guard-house, and answers freely all questions 
relating to his weary march. Of course, such an arrest 
excites much comment among the men. Nearly all are 
restive under the thought of acting as slave-catchers. 
The Seventy-first made a forced march, and the priva- 
tions they endured have been honorably mentioned in the 
country's history. This poor negro made a forced march, 
twice the length — in perils often, in fasting, — hurrying 
toward the North for his liberty ! And the Seventy-first 
catches him at the end of his painful journey, — the goal 



58 THE NEGFO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

in sight, — and sends him back to the master who even 
now may be in arms against us, or may take the slave, 
sell him for a rifle, and use it on his friends in the Sev- 
enty-first New-York Regiment. Humanity speaks louder 
here than it does in a large city ; and the men who in 
New York would dismiss the subject with a few words 
about l constitutional obligations J are now the loudest 
in denouncing the abuse of pmver) which changes a re- 
giment of gentlemen into a reginient of negro-catchers. " 

At Pensacola, Slemmer did even more, putting in irons 
fugitives who fled to him for protection, and returning 
them to their masters to be scourged to death. Col. Dim- 
mick, at Portress Monroe, told the rebel Virginians that 
he had not an Abolitionist in his command, and that no 
molestation of their slave-system would be suffered. 

Gen. D. C. Buell, commanding in Tennessee, said, 
in reply to a committee of slave-holders demanding the 
return of their fugitives, — 

" It has come to my knowledge that slaves sometimes 
make their way improperly into our lines, and in some 
instances they may be enticed there ; but I think the 
number has been magnified by report. Several applica- 
tions have been made to me by persons whose servants have 
been found in our camps ; and, in every instance that I 
know of the master has removed his servant, and taken 
him away. 

" I need hardly remind you that there will always be 
found some lawless and mischievous persons in every 
army ; but I assure you that the mass of this army is 
law-abiding, and that it is neither its disposition nor its 
policy to violate law or the rights of individuals in any 
particular." 

Yet, while Union soldiers were returning escaped 



UNION AND SLAVERY BOTH TO BE PRESERVED. 59 

slaves to rebels, it was a notorious fact that the enemy 
were using negroes to build fortifications, drive teams, 
and raise food for the army. 

Black hands piled up the sand-bags, and raised the 
batteries, which drove Anderson out of Sumter. At 
Montgomery, the capital of the confederacy, negroes 
were being drilled and armed for military duty. 



C/S^PTER IX. 

INTELLIGENT CONTRABANDS. 

James Lawson. — His Bravery — Rescue of his Wife and Children. — He 
is sent out on Important Business. — He fights his Way Back. — He is 
Admired by Gens. Hooker and Sickles, — Rhett's Servant. — " For- 
aging for Butter and Eggs." 

I spent three weeks at Liverpool Point, the outpost 
of Hooker's Division, almost directly opposite Aquia 
Creek, waiting patiently for the advance of our left wing 
to follow up the army, becoming, if not a participator 
against the dying struggles of rebeldom, at least a chroni- 
cler of the triumphs in the march of the Union army. 

During this time I was the guest of Col. Graham, of 
Mathias-Point memory, who had brought over from that 
place (last November) some thirty valuable chattels. A 
part of the camp was assigned to them. They built log 
huts, and obtained from the soldiers many comforts, mak- 
ing their quarters equal to any in the camp. 

They had friends and relatives. Negroes feel as much 
sympathy for their friends and kin as the whites ; and, 
from November to the present time, many a man in Vir- 
ginia has lost a very likely slave, for the camp contains 
now upwards of a hundred fat and healthy negroes, in 
addition to its original number from Mathias Point. 

One of the number deserves more honor than that ac- 
corded to Toussaint L'Ouverture in the brilliant lecture 
delivered by Wendell Phillips. He is unquestionably 

60 



INTELLIGENT CONTRABANDS. 61 

the hero of the Potomac, and deserves to be placed by 
the side of his most renowned black brethren. 

The name of this negro is James Lawson, born near 
Hempstead, Virginia, and he belonged to a Mr. Taylor. 
He made his escape last December. On hearing his 
praises spoken by the captains of the gunboats on the 
Potomac, I was rather indisposed to admit the possession 
of all the qualities they give him credit for, and thought 
possibly his exploits had been exaggerated. His heroic 
courage, truthfulness, and exalted Christian character 
seemed too romantic for their realization. However, 
my doubts on that score were dispelled ; and I am a 
witness of his last crowning act. 

Jim, after making his escape from Virginia, shipped on 
board of" The Freeborn/' flag-gunboat, Lieut. Samuel Ma- 
gaw commanding. He furnished Capt. Magaw with much 
valuable intelligence concerning the rebel movements, 
and, from his quiet, every-day behavior, soon won the 
esteem of the commanding officer. 

Capt. Magaw, shortly after Jim's arrival on board "The 
Freeborn," sent him upon a scouting tour through the 
rebel fortifications, more to test his reliability than any- 
thing else ; and the mission, although fraught with great 
danger, was executed by Jim in the most faithful man- 
ner. Again Jim was sent into Virginia, landing at 
the White House, below Mount Vernon, and going into the 
interior for several miles; encountering the fire of picket- 
guards and posted sentries ; returned in safety to the 
shore ; and was brought off in the captain's gig, under 
the fire of the rebel musketry. 

Jim had a wife and four children at that time still in 
Virginia. They belonged to the same man as Jim did. 
He was anxious to get them ; yet it seemed impossible. 



62 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

One day in January, Jim came to the captain's room, and 
asked for permission to be landed that evening on the 
Virginia side, as he wished to bring off his family. " Why 
Jim/' said Capt. Magaw, " how will you be able to pass 
the pickets 2-^ 

" I want to^tryPd^ptain: I think I can get 'em over 
safely," meekly replied Jim. 

" Well, you havexrny permission ; " and Capt. Magaw 
ordered one of the gunboats to land Jim that night on 
whatever part of the shore he designated, and return for 
him the following evening. 

True to his appointment, Jim was at the spot with his 
wife and family, and was taken on board the gunboat, 
and brought over to Liverpool Point, where Col. Graham 
had given them a log-house to live in, just back of his 
own quarters. Jim ran the gauntlet of the sentries 
unharmed, never taking to the roads, but keeping in the 
woods, every foot-path of which, and almost every 
tree, he knew from his boyhood up. 

Several weeks afterwards another reconnoissance was 
planned, and Jim sent on it. He returned in safety, and 
was highly complimented by Gens. Hooker, Sickles, and 
the entire flotilla. 

On Thursday, week ago, it became necessary to 
obtain correct information of the enemy's movements. 
Since then, batteries at Shipping and Cockpit Points 
had been evacuated, and their troops moved to Freder- 
icksburg. Jim was the man picked out for the occasion, 
by Gen. Sickles and Capt. Magaw. Trie general came 
down to Col. Graham's quarters, about nine in the even- 
ing, and sent for Jim. There were present, the general, 
Col. Graham, and myself. Jim came into the colonel's. 

" Jim." said the general, "I want you to go over to 



INTELLIGENT CONTRABANDS. 63 

Virginia to-night, and find out what forces they have at 
Aquia Creek and Fredericksburg. If you want any men 
to accompany you, pick them out." 

" I know two men that would like to go," Jim an- 
swered. 

" Well, get them, and be back as soon as possible." 

Away went Jim over to the contraband camp, and, 
returning almost immediately, brought into our presence 
two very intelligent-looking darkies. 

" Are you all ready ? " inquired the general. 

" All ready, sir," the trio responded. 

" Well, here, Jim, you take my pistol," said Gen. 
Sickles, unbuckling it from his belt ; " and, if you are 
successful, I will give you $100." 

Jim hoped he would be, and, bidding us good-by, 
started off for the gunboat " Satellite," Capt. Foster, who 
landed them a short distance below the Potomac-Creek 
Batteries. They were to return early in the morning, 
but were unable, from the great distance they went in 
the interior. Long before daylight on Saturday morn- 
ing, the gunboat was lying off at the appointed place. 
As the day dawned, Capt. Foster discovered a mounted 
picket-guard near the beach, and almost at the same 
instant saw Jim to the left of them, in the woods, sight- 
ing his gun at the rebel cavalry. He ordered the " gig " 
to be manned, and rowed to the shore. The rebels 
moved along slowly, thinking to intercept the boat, when 
Foster gave them a shell, which scattered them. Jim, 
with only one of his original companions, and two fresh 
contrabands, came on board. Jim had lost the other. He 
had been challenged by a picket when some distance in 
advance of Jim, and the negro, instead of answering the 
summons, fired the contents of Sickles's revolver at the 



64 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

picket. It was an unfortunate occurrence ; for at that 
time the entire picket-guard rushed out of a small house 
near the spot, and fired the contents of their muskets 
at Jim's companion, killing, him instantly. Jim and the 
other three h^d themselves in a hollow, near a fence, and, 
after the pickets gave up pursuit, crept through the 
woods to/"the shore. From the close proximity of the 
rebel pickets, Jim could not display a light, which was 
the signal for Capt. Poster to send a boat. 

Capt. Foster, after hearing Jim's story of the shooting 
of his companion, determined to avenge his death ; so, 
steaming his vessel close in to the shore, he sighted his 
guns for a barn, where the rebel cavalry were hiding 
behind. He fired two shells : one went right through 
the barn, killing four of the rebels, and seven of their 
horses. Capt. Foster, seeing the effect of his shot, said 
to Jim, who stood by, "Well, Jim, I've avenged the 
death of poor Cornelius " (the name of Jim's lost com- 
panion). 

Gen. Hooker has transmitted to the War Department 
an account of Jim's reconnoissance to Fredericksburg, 
and unites with the army and navy stationed on the left 
wing of the Potomac, in the hope that the Government 
will present Jim with a fitting recompense for his gallant 
services. — War Correspondent of the New- York Times. 

On Thursday, beyond Charlestown, our pickets de- 
scried a solitary horseman, with a bucket on his arm, 
jogging soberly towards them. He proved to be a dark 
mulatto, of about thirty-five. As he approached, they 
ordered a halt. 

" Where are you from ? u 

" Southern Army, cap'n," giving the military salute. 



INTELLIGENT CONTRABANDS. 65 

" Where are you going ? " 

u Coming to yous all." 

" What do you want ? " 

"Protection, boss. You won't send me back, will 
you?" 

" No : come in. Whose servant are you ? " 

" Cap'n Rhett's, of South Carliny : you's heard of 
Mr. Barnwell Rhett, editor of i The Charleston Mercury ' ? 
His brother commands a battery." 

" How did you get away ? " 

"Cap'n gove me fifteen dollars this morning, and said, 
' John, go out, and forage for butter and eggs.' So you 
see, boss (with a broad grin), Pse out foraging ! I 
pulled my hat over my eyes, and jogged along on the 
cap'n's horse (see the brand S.C. on him?) with this 
basket on my arm, right by our guards and pickets. 
They never challenged me once. If they had, though, 
I brought the cap'n's pass." And the new corner pro- 
duced this document from his pocket-book, written in 
pencil, and carefully folded. I send you the original : — 

" Pass my servant, John, on horseback, anywhere between Winchester and 
Martinsburg, in search of butter, &c, &c. 

" A. BURNETT RHETT, Capt. Light Artillery, Lee's Battalion" 

"Are there many negroes in the rebel corps ? " 

" Heaps, boss." * 

" Would the most of them come to us if they could? " 

" All of them, cap'n. There isn't a little pickanniny so 

high (waving his hand two feet from the ground) that 

wouldn't." 

"Why did you expect protection ? " 

" Heard so in Maryland, before the Proclamation." 

" Where did you hear about the Proclamation ? " 

5 



66 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

" Read it, sir, in a Richmond paper." 

" What is it ? " 

" That every slave is to be emancipated on and aftei 
the thirteenth day of January. I can't state it, boss." 

" Something like it. When did you learn to read ? w 

" In '49, sir. I was head waiter at Mrs. Nevitt's 
boarding-house in Savannah, and Miss Walcott, a New- 
York lady, who was stopping there, taught me." 

" Does your master know it ? " 

" Capt. Rhett doesn't know it, sir ; but he isn't my 
master. He thinks I'm free, and hired me at twenty 
five dollars a month ; but he never paid me any of it. 
I belong to Mrs. John Spring. She used to hire me 
out summers, and have me wait on her every winter, 
when she came South. After the war, she couldn't 
come, and they were going to sell me for Government 
because I belonged to a Northerner. Sold a great many 
negroes in that way. But I slipped away to the army. 
Have tried to come to you twice before in Maryland, but 
couldn't pass our pickets." 

" Were you at Antietam ? " 

" Yes, boss. Mighty hard battle ! " 

" Who whipped ? " ' 

" Yous all, massa. They say you didn't ; but I saw 
it, and know. If you had fought us that next day, — 
Thursday, — you would have captured our whole army. 
They say so themselves." 

" Who ? " 

" Our officers, sir." 

" Did you ever hear of old John Brown ? " 

" Hear of him? Lord bless you, yes, boss : I've read 
his life, and have it now in my trunk in Charleston ; 
sent to New York by the steward of 6 The James Adger,' 



INTELLIGENT CONTRABANDS. 67 

and got it. I've read it to heaps of the colored folks. 
Lord, they think John Brown was almost a god. Just 
say you was a friend of his, and any slave will almost kiss 
your feet, if you let him. They say, if he was only alive 
now, he would be king. How it did frighten the white 
folks when, he raised the insurrection ! It was Sunday 
when we heard of it. They wouldn't let a negro go into 
the streets. I was waiter at the Mills House in Charles- 
ton. There was a lady from Massachusetts, who came 
down to breakfast that morning at my table. i John/ 
she says, i I want to see a negro church ; where is the 
principal one ? ' i Not any open to-day, mistress/ I told 
her. 'Why not ? ; c Because a Mr. John Brown has 
raised an insurrection in Virginny.' ' Ah ! ' she says ; 
' well, they'd better look out, or they'll get the white 
churches shut up in that way some of these days, too ! ' 
Mr. Nicholson, one of the proprietors, was listening 
from the office to hear what she said. Wasn't that lady 
watched after that ? I have a History of San Domingo, 
too, and a Life of Fred. Douglass, in my trunk, that I got 
in {he same way." 

" What do the slaves think about the war ? " 
" Well, boss, they all wish the Yankee army would 
come. The white folks tell them all sorts of bad stories 
about you all ; but they don't believe them." 

John was taken to Gen. McClellan, to whom he gave 
all the information he possessed about the position, num- 
bers, and organization of the rebel army. His knowledge 
was full and valuable, and is corroborated by all the facts 
we have learned from other sources. The principal 
features of it I have already transmitted to you by tele- 
graph. At the close of the interview, he asked anx- 
iously, — 



68 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

" General, you won't send me back, will you ? " 

" Yes," replied the general, with a smile 7 " I believe I 
will." 

" I hope you won't, general. If you say so, I know I 
will have to go; but I come to yous all for protection, 
and I hope you won't." 

" Well, then, I suppose we will not. No, John, you 
are at liberty to go where you please. Stay with the 
army, if you like. No one can ever take you against 
your will." 

"May the Lord bless you, general. I thought you 
wouldn't drive me out. You's the best friend I ever 
had ; I shall never forget you till I die." And John 
made the salute, re-mounted his horse, and rode back to 
the rear, his. dusky face almost white with radiance. 

An hour later, he was on duty as the servant of Capt. 
Batchelor, Quartermaster of Couch's Second Division; 
and I do not believe there was another heart in our 
corps so light as his in the unwonted joy of freedom. — 
New- York Tribune. 



CHAPTER .X. 

PROCLAMATIONS OF FREMONT AND HUNTER. 

Gen. Fremont's Proclamation, and its Effect on the Public Mind. — Gen. 
Hunter's Proclamation ; the Feeling it created. 

While the country seemed drifting to destruction, and 
the Administration without a policy, the heart of every 
loyal man was made glad by the appearance of the pro- 
clamation of Major-Gen. John C. Fremont, then in com- 
mand at the West. The following extract from that 
document, which at the time caused so much discussion, 
will bear insertion here : — 

" All persons who shall be taken with arms in their 
hands within these lines shall be tried by court martial, 
and, if found guilty, will be shot. The property, real 
and personal, of all persons in the State of Missouri, who 
shall take up arms against the United States, or who 
shall be directly proven to have taken active part with 
their enemies in the field, is declared to be confiscated 
to the public use, and their slaves, if any they have, are 
hereby declared free men." 

The above was the first official paper issued after the 
commencement of the war, that appeared to have the 
ring of the right kind of mettle* But while the public 
mind was being agitated upon its probable effect upon 
the Rebellion, a gloom was thrown over the whole com- 
munity by the President's removal of Gen. Fremont, and 
the annulling of the proclamation. This act of Mr. Lin- 

69 



70 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

coin gave unintentional " aid and comfort " to the ene- 
my, and was another retrograde movement in the way 
of crushing out the Rebellion. 

Gen. Fremont, before the arrival of the President's 
letter, had given freedom to a number of slaves, in ac- 
cordance with his proclamation. His mode of action may 
be seen in the following deed of manumission : — 

" Whereas, Thomas L. Snead, of the city and county 
of St. Louis, State of Missouri, has been taking an active 
part with the enemies of the United States, in the pres- 
ent insurrectionary movement against the Government 
of the United States ; now, therefore, I, John Charles 
Fremont, Major-General commanding the Western De- 
partment of the Army of the United States, by authority 
of law, and the power vested in me as such commanding 
general, declare Hiram Reed, heretofore held to service 
or labor by Thomas L. Snead, to be free, and forever 
discharged from the bonds of servitude, giving him full 
right and authority to have, use, and control his own 
labor or service as to him may seem proper, without any 
accountability whatever to said Thomas L. Snead, or 
any one to claim by, through, or under him. 

" And this deed of manumission shall be respected 
and treated by all persons, and in all courts of justice, 
as the full and complete evidence of the freedom of said 
Hiram Reed. 

" In testimony whereof, this act is done at headquar- 
ters of the Western Department of the Army of the 
United States, in the city of St. Louis, State of Missouri, 
on this twelfth day of September, A.D. eighteen hundred 
and sixty-one, as is evidenced by the Departmental Seal 
hereto affixed by my order. 

"J. C. FREMONT, 
" Major- General Commanding." 






PROCLAMATIONS OF FREMONT AND HUNTER. 71 

" Done at the office of the Provost-Marshal, in the city 
of St. Louis, the twelfth day of September, A.D. eigh- 
teen hundred and sixty-one, at nine o'clock in the even- 
ing of said day. 

a Witness my hand and seal of office hereto affixed. 

J. McKINSTRY, 

" Brigadier- General, Provost- Marshal" 

The agitation in the public mind on account of the 
proclamation and its annulment, great as it was, was soon 
surpassed by one still more bold and sweeping from 
Major-Gen. David Hunter, in the following language, 
issued from his headquarters, at Hilton Head, S.C, on 
the 9th of May: — 

" Headquarters Department of the South, 
Hilton Head, S.C, May 9, 1862. 
" General Orders, No. 11 : 

u The three States of Georgia, Florida, and South Caro- 
lina, comprising the Military Department of the South, 
having deliberately declared themselves no longer under 
the protection of the United States of America, and hav- 
ing taken up arms against the said United States, it be- 
came a military necessity to declare them under martial 
law. This was accordingly done on the 25th day of 
April, 1862. Slavery and martial law in a free country 
are altogether incompatible. The persons in these three 
States, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, heretofore 
held as slaves, are therefore declared forever free. 

" DAVID HUNTER, 
" Major- General Commanding. 

" [Official.] 

" Ed. W. Smith, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General." 

But, before Mr. Lincoln was officially informed of the 



72 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

issuing of the above order, he made haste to annul it 
in the terms following : " That neither Gen. Hunter 
nor any other commander or person has been authorized 
by the Government of the United States to make procla- 
mation declaring the slaves of any State free ; and that 
the supposed proclamation now in question, whether 
genuine or false, is altogether void, so far as respects 
such declaration. 

" I further make known, that, whether it be competent 
for me, as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, to 
declare the slaves of any State or States free, and 
whether at any time or in any case it shall have become 
a necessity indispensable to the maintenance of the Gov- 
ernment to exercise such supposed power, are questions 
which, under my responsibility, I reserve to myself, and 
which I cannot feel justified in leaving to the decision 
of commanders in the field." 

These words of the President were hailed with cheers 
by the proslavery press of the North, and carried com- 
fort to the hearts of the rebels ; although the Chief-Ma- 
gistrate did not intend either. However, before the Pres- 
ident's proclamation reached Carolina, Gen. Hunter was 
furnishing slaves with free papers, of which the succeed- 
ing is a copy : — 

" DEED OF EMANCIPATION. 

" It having been proven, to the entire satisfaction of 
the general commanding the Department of the South, 
that the bearer, named , heretofore held in in- 
voluntary servitude, has been directly employed to aid 
and assist those in rebellion against the United States 
of America ; 



PROCLAMATIONS OF FREMONT AND HUNTER. 73 

" Now, be it known to all, that, agreeably to the laws, I 
declare the said person free, and forever absolved from 
all claims to his services. Both he and his wife and 
children have full right to go North, East, or West, as 
they may decide. 

" Given under my hand, at the Headquarters of the De- 
partment of the South, this nineteenth day of April, 1862. 

" D. HUNTER, 
" Major- General Commanding." 

The words, " forever free," sounded like a charm 
upon the ears of the oppressed, and seemed to give 
hopes of a policy that would put down the Rebellion, and 
leave the people untrammelled with slavery. 

" God's law of compensation worketh sure, 
So we may know the right shall aye endure ! 
■ Forever free I ' God ! how the pulse doth bound 
At the high, glorious, Heaven-prompted sound 
That greets our ears from Carolina's shore ! 
* Forever free I ' and slavery is no more ! 
Ere time the hunter followed up the slave ; 
But now a Hunter, noble, true, and brave, 
Proclaims the right, to each who draws a breath, 
To lift himself from out a living death, 
And plant his feet on Freedom's happy soil, 
Content to take her wages for his toil, 
And look to God, the author of his days, 
For food and raiment, sounding forth His praise." 

Deep indeed was the impression left upon the public 
mind by the orders of both Fremont and Hunter ; and 
they hastened the policy which the President eventually 
adopted, to the great gratification of the friends of free- 
dom everywhere. 



CHAPTER XL 

HEROISM OF NEGROES ON THE HIGH SEAS. 

Heroism of Negroes. — William Tillman re-captures " The S. G. Waring." 
— George Green. — Robert Small captures the Steamer "Planter." — 
Admiral Dupont's Opinion on Negro Patriotism. 

In the month of June, 1861, the schooner " S. J. War- 
ing," from New York, bound to South America, was cap- 
tured on the passage by the rebel privateer " Jeff Davis," 
a prize-crew put on board, consisting of a captain, mate, 
and four seamen ; and the vessel set sail for the port of 
Charleston, S.C. Three of the original crew were re- 
tained on board, a German as steersman, a Yankee who 
was put in irons, and a black man named William Till- 
man, the steward and cook of the schooner.' The latter 
was put to work at his usual business, and told that he 
was henceforth the property of the Confederate States, 
and would be sold, on his arrival at Charleston, as a slave. 
Night comes on ; darkness covers the sea ; the vessel is 
gliding swiftly towards the South ; the rebels, one after 
another, retire to their berths ; the hour of midnight ap- 
proaches ; all is silent in the cabin ; the captain is asleep ; 
the mate, who has charge of the watch, takes his brandy 
toddy, and reclines upon the quarter-deck. The negro 
thinks of home and all its endearments : he sees in the 
dim future chains and slavery. 

He resolves, and determines to put the resolution into 

74 






HEROISM OF NEGROES ON THE HIGH SEAS. 75 

practice upon the instant. Armed with a heavy club, 
he proceeds to the captain's room. He strikes the fatal 
blow : he feels the pulse, and all is still. He next goes to 
the adjoining room : another blow is struck, and the black 
man is master of the cabin. Cautiously he ascends to 
the deck, strikes the mate : the officer is wounded but 
not killed. He draws his revolver, and calls for help. The 
crew are aroused : they are hastening to aid their com- 
mander. The negro repeats his blows with the heavy 
club : the rebel falls dead at Tillman's feet. The African 
seizes the revolver, drives the crew below deck, orders 
the release of the Yankee, puts the enemy in irons, and 
proclaims himself master of the vessel. 

" The Waring's " head is turned towards New York, 
with the stars and stripes flying, a fair wind, and she rap. 
idly retraces her steps. A storm comes up : more men 
are needed to work the ship. Tillman orders the rebels 
to be unchained, and brought on deck. The command is 
obeyed ; and they are put to work, but informed, that, if 
they show any disobedience, they will be shot down. 
Five days more, and " The S. J. Waring " arrives in the 
port of New York, under the command of William Till- 
man, the negro patriot. ^ 

" The New- York Tribune " said of this event, — 
" To this colored man was the nation indebted for the 
first vindication of its honor on the sea." Another pub- 
lic journal spoke of that achievement alone as an offset 
to the defeat of the Federal arms at Bull Run. Un- 
stinted praise from all parties, even those who are usually 
awkward in any other vernacular than derision of the 
colored man, has been awarded to this colored man. At 
Barnum's Museum he was the centre of attractive gaze 
to daily increasing thousands. Pictorials vied with each 



76 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

other in portraying his features, and in graphic delinea- 
tions of the scene on board the brig ; while, in one of 
them, Tillman has been sketched as an embodiment of 
black action on the sea, in contrast with some delinquent 
Federal officer as white inaction on land. 

The Federal Government awarded to Tillman the sum 
of six thousand dollars as prize-money for the capture 
of the schooner. All loyal journals joined in praise of 
the heroic act; and, even when the news reached Eng- 
land, the negro's bravery was applauded. A few weeks 
later, and the same rebel privateer captured the schooner 
" Enchantress," bound from Boston to St. Jago, while off 
Nantucket Shoals. A prize-crew was put on board, and, 
as in the case of " The Waring," retaining the colored 
steward ; and the vessel set sail for a Southern port. 
When off Cape Hatteras, she was overtaken by the Fed- 
eral gunboat " Albatross," Capt. Prentice. 

On speaking her, and demanding where from and 
whence bound, she replied, " Boston, for St. Jago." At 
this moment the negro rushed from the galley, where the 
pirates had secreted him, and jumped into the sea, exclaim- 
ing, " They are a privateer crew from The 'Jeff. Davis/ 
and bound for Charleston!" The negro was picked up, and 
taken on board "The Albatross." The prize was ordered 
to heave to, which she did. Lieut. Neville jumped 
aboard of her, and ordered the pirates into the boats, and 
to pull for " The Albatross," where they were secured in 
irons. " The Enchantress " was then taken in tow by " The 
Albatross," and arrived in Hampton Roads. On the morn- 
ing of the 13th of May, 1862, the rebel gunboat " Plant- 
er" was captured by her colored crew, while lying in the 
port of Charleston, S.C., and brought out, and delivered 
over to our squadron then blockading the place. The 



HEROISM OF NEGROES ON THE HIGH SEAS.. „ 77 

following is the dispatch from Com. Dupont to the Secre- 
tary of War ; announcing the fact : — 

"U. S. Steamship Augusta, 
off Charleston, May 13, 1862. 

u Sir, — I have the honor to inform you that the rebel 
armed gunboat 'Planter ' was brought out to us this morn- 
ing from Charleston by eight contrabands, and delivered 
up to the squadron. Five colored women and three 
children are also on board. She was the armed despatch 
and transportation steamer attached to the engineer de- 
partment at Charleston, under Brig.-Gen. Ripley. At 
four in the morning, in the absence of the captain who 
was on shore, she left her wharf close to the govern- 
ment office and head-quarters, with the Palmetto and 
confederate flags flying, and passed the successive forts, 
saluting as usual, by blowing the steam-whistle. After 
getting beyond the range of the last gun, they hauled 
down the rebel flags, and hoisted a white one. " The On- 
ward' 7 was the inside ship of the blockading squadron in 
the main channel, and was preparing to fire when her 
commander made out the white flag. 

" The armament of the steamer is a thirty-two pound- 
er, on pivot, and a fine twenty -four-pound howitzer. She 
has, besides, on her deck, four other guns, one seven-inch, 
rifled, which were to be taken on the following morning 
to a new fort on the middle ground. One of the four 
belonged to Fort Sumter, and had been struck, in the 
rebel attack, on the muzzle. Robert Small, the intelli- 
gent slave, and pilot of the boat, who performed this 
bold feat so skilfully, is a superior man to any who have 
come into our lines, intelligent as many of them have 
been. His information has been most interesting, and 



78 *THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

portions of it of the utmost importance. The steamer 
is quite a valuable acquisition to the squadron by her 
good machinery and very light draught. The bringing 
out of this steamer would have done credit to any one. 
I do not know whether, in the view of the Government, 
the vessel will be considered a prize ; but, if so, I re- 
spectfully submit to the Department the claims of the 
man Small and his associates. Very respectfully, your 
obedient servant, 

" S. F. DUPONT, 

" Flag- Officer Commanding." 

The New-York u Commercial Advertiser " said of the 
capture, " We are forced to confess that this is a heroic 
act, and that the negroes deserve great praise. Small is 
a middle-aged negro, and his features betray nothing of 
the firmness of character he displayed. He is said to be 
one of the most skilful pilots of Charleston, and to have 
a thorough knowledge of all the ports and inlets of South 
Carolina." 

A bill was introduced in Congress to give the prize to 
Eobert Small and his companions; and, while it was under 
consideration, the " New- York Tribune " made the fol- 
lowing timely remarks : il If we must still remember 
with humiliation that the Confederate flag yet waves 
where our national colors were struck, we should be all 
the more prompt to recognize the merit that has put in 
our possession the first trophy from Fort Sumter. And 
the country should feel doubly humbled if there is not 
magnanimity enough to acknowledge a gallant action, 
because it was the head of a black man that conceived, 
and the hand of a black man that executed it. It would 
better, indeed, become us to remember that no small 



HEROISM OF NEGROES ON THE HIGH SEAS. , 79 

share of the naval glory of the war belongs to the race 
which we have forbidden to fight for us ; that one negro 
has captured a vessel from a Southern privateer, and 
another has brought away from under the very guns of 
the enemy, where no fleet of ours has yet dared to ven- 
ture, a prize whose possession a commodore thinks 
worthy to be announced in a special despatch. 77 The 
bill was taken up, passed both branches of Congress, and 
Robert Small, together with his associates, received 
justice at the hands of the American Government. 

The "New- York Herald ' 7 gave the following account 
of the capture : — 

" One of the most daring and heroic adventures since 
the war commenced was undertaken and successfully 
accomplished by a party of negroes in Charleston on 
Monday night last. Nine colored men, comprising the 
pilot, engineers, and crew of the rebel gunboat l Planter/ 
took the vessel under their exclusive control, passed the 
batteries and forts in Charleston Harbor, hoisted the 
white flag, ran out to the blockading squadron, and 
thence to Port Royal, via St. Helena Sound and Broad 
River, reaching the flagship l Wabash 7 shortly after ten 
o'clock last evening. 

"'The Planter 7 is just such a vessel as is needed to 
navigate the shallow waters between Hilton Head and 
the adjacent islands, and will prove almost invaluable to 
the Government. It is proposed, I hear, by the commo- 
dore, to recommend the appropriation of $20,000 as a 
reward to the plucky Africans who have distinguished 
themselves by this gallant service, $5,000 to be given 
to the pilot, and the remainder to be divided among his 
companions. 

" ' The Planter 7 is a high-pressure, side-wheel steamer, 



80 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

one hundred and forty feet in length, and about fifty feet 
beam, and draws about five feet of water. She was built 
in Charleston, was formerly used as a cotton boat, and is 
capable of carrying about 1,400 bales. On the organi- 
zation of the Confederate navy, she was transformed into 
a gunboat, and was the most valuable war-vessel the 
Confederates had at Charleston. Her armament con- 
sisted of one thirty-two-pound rifle-gun forward, and a 
twenty-four-pound howitzer aft. Besides, she had on 
board, when she came into the harbor, one seven-inch 
rifle-gun, one eight-inch columbiad, one eight-inch how- 
itzer, one long thirty-two pounder, and about two hun- 
dred rounds of ammunition, which had been consigned 
to Fort Ripley, and which would have been delivered at 
that fortification on Tuesday had not the designs of the 
rebel authorities been frustrated. She was commanded 
by Capt. Relay, of the Confederate Navy, all the other 
employees of the vessel, excepting the first and second 
mates, being persons of color. 

" Robert Small, with whom I had a brief interview at 
Gen. Benham's headquarters this morning, is an intelli- 
gent negro, born in Charleston, and employed for many 
years as a pilot in and about that harbor. He entered 
upon his duties on board 'The Planter 7 some six weeks 
since, and, as he told me, adopted the idea of running 
the vessel to sea from a joke which one of his compan- 
ions perpetrated. He immediately cautioned the crew 
against alluding to the matter in any way on board the 
boat ; but asked them, if they wanted to talk it up in 
sober earnestness, to meet at his house, where they 
would devise and determine upon a plan to place them- 
selves under the protection of the Stars and Stripes, in- 
stead of the stars and bars. Various plans were pro- 



HEROISM OF NEGROES ON THE HIGH SEAS. 81 

posed ; but finally the whole arrangement of the escape 
was left to the discretion and sagacity of Robert, his 
companions promising to obey him ; and be ready at a 
moment's notice to accompany him. For three days he 
kept the provisions of the party secreted in the hold, 
awaiting an opportunity to slip away. At length, on 
Monday evening, the white officers of the vessel went 
on shore to spend the night, intending to start on the 
following morning for Fort Ripley, and to be absent from 
the city for some days. The families of the contrabands 
were notified, and came stealthily on board. At about 
three o'clock, the fires were lit under the boilers, and the 
vessel steamed quietly away down the harbor. The tide 
was against her, and Fort Sumter was not reached till 
broad daylight. However, the boat passed directly 
under its walls, giving the usual signal — two long pulls 
and a jerk at the whistle-cord — as she passed the sen- 
tinel. 

" Once out of range of the rebel guns, the white flag 
was raised, and ' The Planter 7 steamed directly for the 
blockading steamer ' Augusta.' Capt. Parrott, of the 
latter vessel, as you may imagine, received them cor- 
dially, heard their report, placed Acting-Master Watson, 
of his ship, in charge of ' The Planter/ and'sent the Con- 
federate gunboat and crew forward to Commodore 
Dupont." 



CHAPTER XII. 

GENERAL BUTLER AT NEW ORLEANS. 

Recognition of Negro Soldiers with Officers of their own Color. — Society 
in New Orleans. — The Inhuman Master. — Justice. — Change of 
Opinion. — The Free Colored Population. 

When Major-Gen. Butler found himself in posses- 
sion of New Orleans, he was soon satisfied of the fact 
that there were but few loyalists amongst the whites, 
while the Union feeling of the colored people was appar- 
ent from the hour of his landing; they having immedi- 
ately called upon the commander, and, through a com- 
mittee, offered their services in behalf of the Federal 
cause. Their offer was accepted, as the following will 
show : — 

"Headquarters Department of the Gulf, 
New Orleans, Aug. 22, 1862. 
" General Order, No. 63 : 

" Whereas, on the twenty-third day of April, in the year 
eighteen hundred and sixty-one, at a public meeting of the 
free colored population of the city of New Orleans, a 
military organization, known as the i Native Guards ? 
(colored), had its existence, which military organization 
was duly and legally enrolled as a part of the militaiy of 
the State, its officers being commissioned by Thomas 0. 

82 



GENERAL BUTLER AT NEW ORLEANS. 83 

Moore, Governor, and Commander-in-Chief of the Militia, 
of the State of Louisiana, in the form following, that is 
to say: — 

"'The State of Louisiana. 

[Seal of the State.] 

" < By Thomas Overton Moore, Governor of the State 
of Louisiana, and Commander-in-Chief of the Militia 
thereof. 

" ' In the name and by the authority of the State of 
Louisiana : 

" 4 Know ye that , having been duly and 

legally elected Captain of the " Native Guards " (colored), 
First Division of the Militia of Louisiana, to serve for the 
term of the war, 

ui I do hereby appoint and commission him Captain as 
aforesaid, to take rank as such, from the second day of 
May, 1861. 

"'He is, therefore, carefully and diligently to dis- 
charge the duties of his office, by doing and performing 
all manner of things thereto belonging. And I do 
strictly charge and require all officers, non-commissioned 
officers, and privates under his command to be obedient 
to his orders as Captain ; and he is to observe and 
follow such orders and directions, from time to time, as 
he shall receive from me, or the future Governor of the 
State of Louisiana, or other superior officers, according 
to the Rules and Articles of War, and in conformity to 
law. 

" ' In testimony whereof, I have caused these letters to 
be made patent, and the seal of the State to be hereunto 
annexed. 

" l Given under my hand, at the city of Baton Rouge, 



84 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

on the second day of May, in the year of our Lord one 
thousand eight hundred and sixty-two. 
" ' (Signed) 

"< THOMAS 0. MOORE. 

" ' By the Governor. 

" ' P. D. HARDY, Secretary of State." 

[INDORSED.] 

" ' I, Maurice Grivot, Adjutant and Inspector-General 

of the State of Louisiana, do hereby certify that 

, named in the within commission, did, on the twen- 
ty-second day of May, in the year 1861, deposit in my 
office his written acceptance of the office to which he 
is commissioned, and his oath of office taken according to 
law. 

"'M. GRIVOT, 
" l Adjutant and Inspector- General La." 1 

" And whereas such military organization elicited 
praise and respect, and was complimented in general 
orders for its patriotism and loyalty, and was ordered to 
continue during the war, in the words following : — 



"'Order No. 426: 



" ' Headquarters Louisiana Militia, 
" ■ Adjutant-General's Office, March 24, 1862. 



" ' I. The Governor and Commander-in-Chief, relying 
implicitly upon the loyalty of the free colored popula- 
tion of the city and State, for the protection of their 
homes, their property, and for Southern rights, from the 
pollution of a ruthless invader, and believing that the 
military organization which existed prior to the 15th 
February, 1862, and elicited praise and respect for the* 
patriotic motives which prompted it, should exist for 
and during the war, calls upon them to maintain their 



GENERAL BUTLER AT NEW ORLEANS. 85 

organization, and hold themselves prepared for such 
orders as may be transmitted to them. 

" ' II. The colonel commanding will report without 
delay to Major-Gen. Lewis, commanding State Militia. 

11 ' By order of 

" * THOS. 0. MOORE, Governor. 
" ' M. GRIVOT, Adjutant-GeneraV 

" And whereas said military organization, by the same 
order, was directed to report to Major-Gen. Lewis for 
service, but did not leave the city of New Orleans when 
he did : 

" Now, therefore, the commanding-general, believing 
that a large portion of this military force of the State of 
Louisiana are willing to take service in the volunteer 
forces of the United States, and be enrolled and organ- 
ized to { defend their homes from ruthless invaders ; ? 
to protect their wives and children and kindred from 
wrongs and outrages ; to shield their property from be- 
ing seized by bad men ; and to defend the flag of their 
native country as their fathers did under Jackson at 
Chalmette against Packingham and his myrmidons, car- 
rying the black flag of l beauty and booty 7 ; 

" Appreciating their motives, relying upon their l well- 
known loyalty and patriotism/ and with ' praise and 
respect T for these brave men, it is ordered that all the 
members of the 'Native Guards' aforesaid, and all 
other free colored citizens recognized by the first and 
late governor and authorities of the State of Louisiana 
as a portion of the militia of the State, who shall enlist in 
the volunteer service of the United States, shall be duly 
organized by the appointment of proper officers, and ac- 
cepted, paid, equipped, armed, and rationed as are other 
volunteer corps of the United States, subject to the ap- 



86 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

proval of the President of the United States. All such 
persons are required to report themselves at the Touro 
Charity Building, Front Levee Street, New Orleans, 
where proper officers will muster them into the service 
of the United States. 

" By command of 

"Major-Gen. BUTLER. 
"R. S. DAVIS, Captain and A.A. AG." 

The commanding general soon discovered that he 
was amongst a different people from those with whom he 
had been accustomed to associate. New Orleans, how- 
ever, though captured was not subdued. The city 
had been for years the headquarters and focus of all 
Southern rowdyism. An immense crowd of " loafers," 
many without regular occupation or means, infested 
the streets, controlled the ballot-boxes, nominated the 
judges, selected the police, and affected to rule every 
one except a few immensely wealthy planters, who gov- 
erned them by money. These rowdies had gradually 
dissolved society, till New Orleans had become the most 
blood-thirsty city in the world ; a city where every man 
went armed, where a sharp word was invariably an- 
swered by a stab, and where the average of murdered 
men taken to one hospital was three a day. The mob 
were bitter advocates of slavery, held all Yankees in 
abhorrence, and guided by the astute brain of Pierre 
Soule, whilom ambassador to Spain, resolved to contest 
with Gen. Butler the right to control the city. They 
might as well have contested it with Bonaparte. The 
first order issued by the general indicated a policy from 
which he never swerved. The mob had surrounded the 
St. Charles Hotel, threatening an attack on the building, 
then the general's headquarters ; and Gen. Williams, 



GENERAL BUTLER AT NEW ORLEANS. 87 

commanding the troops round it, reported that he would 
be unable to control the mob. " Gen. Butler, in his se- 
renest manner, replied, '.Give ray compliments to Gen. 
Williams, and tell him, if he finds he cannot control the 
mob, to open upon them with artillery. 7 " The mob did 
that day endeavor to seize Judge Summers, the Re- 
corder ; and he was only saved by the determined cour- 
age of Lieut. Kinsman, in command of an armed party. 
From this moment the general assumed the attitude he 
never abandoned, that of master of New Orleans, making 
his own will the law. He at first retained the municipal 
organization; but, finding the officials incurably hostile, 
he sent them to Fort Lafayette, and thenceforward 
ruled alone, feeding the people, re-establishing trade, 
maintaining public order, and seeing that negroes ob- 
tained some reasonable measure of security. Their evi- 
dence was admitted, "Louisiana having, when she went 
out of the Union, taken her black code with her ; " the 
whipping-house was abolished, and all forms of torture 
sternly prohibited. 

The following interesting narrative, given by a cor- 
respondent of " The Atlantic Monthly/ 7 will show, to 
some extent, the scenes which Gen. Butler had to pass 
through in connection with slavery : — 

" One Sunday morning, late last summer, as I came 
down to the breakfast-room, I was surprised to find a 
large number of persons assembled in the library. 

" When I reached the door, a member of the staff took 
me by the arm, and drew me into a room toward a young 
and delicate mulatto girl, who was standing against the 
opposite wall, with the meek, patient bearing of her 
race, so expressive of the system of repression to which 
l-'hey have been so long subjected. 



88 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

" Drawing down the border of her dress, my conduc- 
tor showed me a sight more revolting than I trust ever 
again to behold. 

" The poor girPs back was flayed until the quivering 
flesh resembled a fresh beefsteak scorched on a gridiron. 
With a cold chill creeping through my veins, I turned 
away from the sickening spectacle, and, for an explana- 
tion of the affair, scanned the various persons about the 
room. 

" In the centre of the group, at his writing-table, sat 
the general. His head rested on his hand, and he was 
evidently endeavoring to fix his attention upon the re- 
marks of a tall, swarthy-looking man who stood opposite, 
and who, I soon discovered, was the owner of the girl, 
and was attempting a defence of the foul outrage he had 
committed upon the unresisting and helpless person of 
his unfortunate victim, who stood smarting, but silent, 
under the dreadful pain inflicted by the brutal lash. 

" By the side of the slave-holder stood our adjutant-gen 
sral, his face livid with almost irrepressible rage, and 
bis fists tight clenched, as if to violently restrain him- 
self from visiting the guilty wretch with summary and 
retributive justice. Disposed about the room, in vari- 
ous attitudes, but all exhibiting in their countenances 
the same mingling of horror and indignation, were other 
members of the staff; while near the door stood three 
or four house-servants, who were witnesses in the case. 

a To the charge of having administered the inhuman 
castigation, Landry (the owner of the girl) pleaded 
guilty, but urged, in extenuation, that the girl had 
dared to make an effort for that freedom which her in- 

i 

stincts, drawn from the veins of her abuser, had taught 
her was the God-given right of all who possess the germ 



GENERAL BUTLER AT NEW ORLEANS. 89 

of immortality, no matter what the color of the casket 
in which it is hidden. 

" I say ' drawn from the veins of her abuser/ because 
she declared she was his daughter; and everyone in 
the room, looking upon the man and woman confronting 
each other, confessed that the resemblance justified the 
assertion. 

"At the conclusion of all the evidence in the case, the 
general continued in the same position as before, and re- 
mained for some time apparently lost in abstraction. 1 
shall never forget the singular expression on his face. 

a I had been accustomed to see him in a storm of pas- 
sion at any instance of oppression or flagrant injustice ; 
but, on this occasion, he was too deeply affected to obtain 
relief in the usual w r ay. 

" His whole air was one of dejection, almost listless- 
tiess ; his indignation too intense, and his anger too stern, 
to find expression, even in his countenance. After sitting 
in the mood which I have described at such length, the 
general again turned to the prisoner, and said, in a 
quiet, subdued tone of voice, — 

u l Mr. Landry, I dare not trust myself to decide to-day 
what punishment would be meet for your offence ; for I 
am in that state of mind that I fear I might exceed the 
strict demands of justice. I shall therefore place you 
under guard for the present, until I conclude upon your 
sentence. 7 

" A few days after, a number of influential citizens hav- 
ing represented to the general that Mr. Landry was not 
only a i high-toned gentleman/ but a person of unusual 
'amiability ' of character, and was consequently entitled 
to no small degree of leniency, he answered, that, in con- 
sideration of the prisoner's ' high-toned ' character, and 



90 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

especially of his ' amiability/ of which he had seen so 
remarkable a proof, he had determined to meet their 
views ; and therefore ordered that Landry give a deed 
of manumission to the girl, and pay a fine of five hun- 
dred dollars, to be placed in the hands of a trustee for 
her benefit." 

It was scenes like the above that changed Gen. But- 
ler's views upon the question of slavery ; for it cannot 
be denied, that, during the first few weeks of his com- 
mand in New Orleans, he had a controversy with Gen. 
Phelps, owing to the latter's real antislavery feelings. 
Soon after his arrival, Gen. Butler gave orders that all 
negroes not needed for service should be removed from 
the camps. The city was sealed against their escape. 
Even secession masters were assured that their property, 
if not employed, should be returned. It is said that 
pledges of reimbursement for loss of labor were made 
to such. Gen. Phelps planted himself on the side of 
the slave ; would not exile them from his camp ; branded 
as cruel the policy that harbored, and then drove out the 
slave to the inhuman revenge that awaited him. 

Yet the latter part of Gen. Butler's reign compensated 
for his earlier faults. It must be remembered, that, when 
he landed in New Orleans, he was fresh from Washing- 
ton, where the jails were filled with fugitive slaves, 
awaiting the claim of their masters ; where the return 
of the escaped bondman was considered a military duty. 
Then how could he be expected to do better? The 
stream cannot rise higher than the spring. 

His removal from the Department of the Gulf, on ac- 
count of the crushing blows which he gave the " pecu- 
liar institution/ 7 at once endeared him to the hearts of 
the friends of impartial freedom throughout the land. 



GENERAL BUTLER AT NEW ORLEANS. 91 

The following imitation of Leigh Hunt's celebrated 
poem is not out of place here : — 

"ABOU BEN BUTLER. 

" Abou Ben Butler (may his tribe increase ! ) 
Awoke one night down by the old Balize, 
And saw, outside the comfort of his room, 
Making it warmer for the gathering gloom, 
A black man, shivering in the Winter's cold. 
Exceeding courage made Ben Butler bold ; 
And to the presence in the dark he said, 
" What wantest thou ? " The figure raised its head, 
And, with a look made of all sad accord, 
Answered, " The men who'll serve the purpose of the Lord." 
" And am I one ? " said Butler. " Nay, not so," 
Replied the black man. Butler spoke more low, 
But cheerly still, and said, " As I am Ben, 
You'll not have cause to tell me that again ! " 

The figure bowed and vanished. The next night 

It came once more, environed strong in light, 

And showed the names whom love of Freedom blessed ; 

And, lo ! Ben Butler's name led all the rest." — Boston Transcript. 

It is probably well known that the free colored popu- 
lation of New Orleans, in intelligence, public spirit, and 
material wealth, surpass those of the same class in any 
other city of the Union. Many of these gentlemen 
have been highly educated, have travelled extensively in 
this and foreign countries, speak and read the French, 
Spanish, and English languages fluently, and in the Ex- 
change Rooms, or at the Stock Boards, wield an influ- 
ence at any time fully equal to the same number of 
white capitalists. Before the war, they represented in 
that city alone fifteen millions of property, and were 
heavily taxed to support the schools of the State, but 
were not allowed to claim the least benefit therefrom. 

These gentlemen, representing so much intelligence, 



92 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

culture, and wealth, and who would, notwithstanding 
the fact that they all have negro blood in their veins, 
adorn any circle of society in the North, who would be 
taken upon Broadway for educated and wealthy Cuban 
planters, rather than free negroes, although many of 
them have themselves held slaves, have always been 
Joyal to the Union ; and, when New Orleans seemed in dan- 
ger of being re-captured by the rebels under Gen. Magru- 
der, these colored men rose en masse, closed their offices 
and stores, armed and organized themselves into six regi- 
ments, and for six weeks abandoned their business, and 
stood ready to fight for the defence of New Orleans, 
while, at the same time, not a single white regiment 
from the original white inhabitants was raised. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

THE DISTRICT OP COLUMBIA FREE. 

Emancipation in the District. — Comments of the Press. — The Good 
Result. — Recognition of Hayti and Liberia. — The Slave-trader 
Gordon. 

For many years previous to the Rebellion, efforts had 
been made to induce Congress to abolish slavery in the 
District of Columbia, without success. The " negro- 
pens " which adorned that portion of the national do- 
main had long made Americans feel ashamed of the 
capital of their country ; because it was well known that 
those pens were more or less connected with the Ameri- 
can slave-trade, which, in its cruelty, was as bad as that 
of the African slave-trade, if not worse. It was ex- 
pected, even by the democracy, that one of the first 
acts of the Republicans on coming into office would be 
the emancipation of the slaves of the District; and 
therefore no one was surprised at its being brought for- 
ward in the earliest part of Mr. Lincoln's administration. 
The bill was introduced into the Senate by Hon. Henry 
Wilson of Massachusetts. Its discussion caused consid- 
erable excitement among slave-holders, who used every 
means to prevent its passage. Nevertheless, after going 
through the Senate, it passed the House on the 11th of 
April, 1862, by a large majority, and soon received the 
sanction of the President. The Copperhead press 
howled over the doings of Congress, and appeared to 

93 



94 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

see the fate of the institution in this act. The " Louis- 
ville Journal " said, — 

" The President, contrary to our most earnest hopes, 
has approved the bill for the abolition of slavery in the 
District of Columbia. 

u We need hardly say that the President's reasons for 
approving the bill are not, in our opinion, such as should 
have governed him at this extraordinary juncture of the 
national history. They are not to us sufficient reasons. 
On the contrary, we think they weigh as nothing com- 
pared with the grave reasons in the opposite scale. 

" The enemies of the country will no doubt attempt so 
to use the act by representing it as the first step towards 
the abolition of slavery in the States ; but this represen- 
tation, if made, will be a very gross misrepresentation. 
The Republicans, as a body, our readers know full well, 
always declared that Congress had the constitutional 
power to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, and 
that Congress ought to exercise the power. They, how- 
ever, have always declared, with the same unanimity, 
that Congress does not possess the constitutional power 
to interfere with slavery in the States. And they now 
declare so with especial distinctness and solemnity. 

" We, of course, except from the scope of the remarks 
we have now made such abolitionists as Sumner and his 
scattered followers in Congress. With the exception of 
these few raving zealots, of whom most Republicans are 
heartily ashamed, the men who voted to abolish slavery 
in the District of Columbia avow themselves as resolutely 
opposed to interfering with slavery in the States as the 
men who voted against the measure are known to be. 
Their avowals are distinct and emphatic. 

" We hope that the majority in Congress are at length 



THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FREE. 95 

through with such tricks, and will henceforth leave in 
peace the myrtle of party eye-sores, while they split the 
oak of the Rebellion." 

However, the predictions and hopes of the " Journal " 
were not to avail any thing for the slavemongers. The 
Rebellion had sounded the death-knell of the crime of 
crimes. Too many brave men had already fallen by the 
hands of the upholders of the barbarous system to have 
it stop there. The God of liberty had proclaimed that — 

" In this, the District where my Temple stands, 
I burst indignant every captive's bands ; 
Here in my home my glorious work begin ; 
Then blush no more each day to see this sin. 
Thus finding room to freely breathe and stand, 
I'll stretch my sceptre over all the land, 
Until, unfettered, leaps the waiting slave, 
And echoes back the blessings of the brave." 

The " Press," Forney's paper, spoke thus, a few days 
after slavery had died in the District : — 

" The emancipation of slaves in the District of Colum- 
bia was one of the most suggestive events of the age. 
It was an example and an illustration. The great idea 
of the past century, the idea which had associated and 
identified itself with our institutions, was at last tried 
by a practical test. Good results came from it ; none of 
the evils dreaded and prophesied have been manifested. 
It was a simple measure of legislative policy, and was 
established amid great opposition and feeling. Yet it 
was succeeded by no agitation, no outbreaks of popular 
prejudice. The District of Columbia is now a free Ter- 
ritory by the easy operation of a statute law, — by what 
enemies of the measure called forcible emancipation ; 
and yet the District of Columbia is as pleasant and as 



96 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

prosperous as at any period of its history. There has 
been no negro saturnalia, no violent outbreak of social 
disorder, no attempt to invade those barriers of social 
distinction that must forever exist between the African 
and Anglo-Saxon [?]. It was said that property would 
depreciate ; that there would be excesses and violences ; 
that the negro would become insolent and unbearable ; 
that the city of Washington would become a desolated 
metropolis ; that negro labor would become valueless ; 
that hundreds of the emancipated negroes would flock 
to the Northern States. We have seen no such results 
as yet ; we know that nothing of the kind is anticipated. 
We have yet to hear of the first emancipated negro com- 
ing to Philadelphia. Labor moves on in its accustomed 
way, with the usual supply and demand. We do not 
think a white woman has been insulted by an emanci- 
pated negro; we are confident that no emancipated 
negro has sought the hand of any fair damsel of mar 
riageable age and condition. 

"Society is the same in Maryland and Kentucky. In 
accomplishing emancipation in the District of Columbia, 
we have shown the timid that their fears were but of 
the imagination, the mere prejudices of education. Sla- 
very has been the cancer of the Southern social system. 
We employ an old metaphor, perhaps, but it is a forcible 
and appropriate illustration. It rooted itself into the 
body of Southern society, attacking the glands, termi- 
nating in an ill-conditioned and deep disease, and causing 
the republic excruciating pain. It became schirrous 
and indurated. It brought disaster and grief upon them, 
and the sorest of evils upon us. It brought us blood and 
civil war, ruined commerce and desolated fields,blockaded 
ports, and rivers that swarm with gunboats instead of mer* 



THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FREE. 97 

chant vessels. It was tolerated as a necessary evil, until 
its extent and virulence made it incumbent upon us to ter- 
minate it as such, or to be terminated by it. The cham- 
pions of this institution, not content with submitting to 
the toleration and protection of our great Northern free 
community, have made it the pretext for aggression and 
insult, and by their own acts are accomplishing its down- 
fall. The emancipation of slavery in the District of Co- 
lumbia was the necessary and natural result of the 
Southern Rebellion. It is but the beginning of the 
results the Rebellion must surely bring. The wedge has 
only entered the log, and heavy blows are falling upon 
it day by day." 

Great- was the rejoicing in Washington and through- 
out the Free States ; for every one saw u the end from the 
beginning." Our own Whittier strung his harp anew, 
and sung, — 

" I knew that truth would crush the lie, — 
Somehow, sometime the end would be ; 
Yet scarcely dared I hope to see 
The triumph with my mortal eye. 

But now I see it. In the sun 

A free flag floats from yonder dome, 

And at the nation's hearth and home 
The justice long delayed is done." 

With the abolition of slavery in the District of Colum- 
bia, commenced a new era at our country's capital. 
The representatives of the G-overnments of Hayti and 
Liberia had both long knocked in vain to be admitted 
with the representatives of other nations. The slave 
power had always succeeded in keeping them out. But 

a change had now come over the dreams of the people, 
7 



98 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

and Congress was but acting up to this new light in 
passing the following bill : — 

" Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa- 
tives of the United States of America in Congress assem- 
bled, That the President of the United States be, and 
he hereby is, authorized, by and with the consent of the 
Senate, to appoint diplomatic representatives of the 
United States to the republics of Hayti and Liberia, re- 
spectively. Each of the said representatives so appoint- 
ed shall be accredited as commissioner and consul gen- 
eral, and shall receive, out of any money in the treasury 
not otherwise appropriated, the compensation of commis- 
sioners provided for by the Act of Congress approved 
August 18, 1856 : Provided that the compensation of 
the representative at Liberia shall not exceed $4,000. " 

The above bill was before the Senate some time, and 
elicited much discussion, and an able speech was made 
by Hon. Charles Sumner in favor of the recognition of 
the independence of Hayti and Liberia. To use his own 
expressive words, " Slavery in the national capital is 
now abolished : it remains that this other triumph shall 
be achieved. Nothing but the sway of a slave-holding 
despotism on the floor of Congress, hitherto, has pre- 
vented the adoption of this righteous measure ; and now 
that that despotism has been exorcised, no time should 
be lost by Congress to see it carried into immediate ex- 
ecution. All other civilized nations have ceased to 
make complexion a badge of superiority or inferiority 
in the matter of nationality ; and we should make haste, 
therefore, to repair the injury we have done, as a repub- 
lic, in refusing to recognize Liberian and Haytian inde- 
pendence." 

Even after all that had passed, the African slave-trade 



THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FREE. 99 

was still being carried on between the Southern States 
and Africa. Ships were fitted out in Northern ports 
for the purpose of carrying on this infernal traffic. And, 
although it was prohibited by an act of Congress, none 
had ever been convicted for dealing in slaves. The 
new order of things was to give these traffickers a trial, 
and test the power by which they had so long dealt in 
the bodies and souls of men whom they had stolen from 
their native land. One Nathaniel Gordon was already 
in prison in New York, and his trial was fast approach- 
ing : it came, and he was convicted of piracy in the 
United States District Court in the city of New York ; 
the piracy consisting in having fitted out a slaver, and 
shipped nine hundred Africans at Congo River, with a 
view to selling them as slaves. The same man had been 
tried' for the same offence before ; but the jury failed to 
agree, and he accordingly escaped punishment for the 
time. Every effort was made which the ingenuity of 
able lawyers could invent, or the power of money could 
enforce, to save this miscreant from the gallows ; but all 
in vain: for President Lincoln utterly refused to inter- 
fere in any way whatever, and Gordon was executed on 
the 7th of February. 

This blow appeared to give more offence to the com- 
mercial Copperheads than even the emancipation of the 
slaves in the District of Columbia ; for it struck an ef- 
fectual blow at a very lucrative branch of commerce, in 
which the New Yorkers were largely interested. Thus 
it will be seen that the nation was steadily moving on to 
the goal of freedom. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

THE BLACK BRIGADE OF CINCINNATI. 

The Great Fright. — Cruel Treatment of the Colored People by the Police. 

— Bill Homer and his Roughs. — Military Training. — Col. Dickson. 

— The Work. — Mustering Out. — The Thanks. 

Hatred to the negro is characteristic of the people 
of Cincinnati ; more so, probably, than any other city in 
the West. Mobs in which the colored citizens have 
been the victims have more than once occurred in that 
place, to the utter disgrace of its white inhabitants, - — 
mobs resulting often in the loss of life, and always in 
the destruction of property. The raid of John Morgan 
in the month of July, 1862, and, soon after, the defeat of 
the Union troops in Kentucky, had given warning of im- 
pending clanger. This feeling of fear culminated on the 
first of September, in the mayor of Cincinnati calling on 
the people to organize and prepare for the defence of 
the city, in the following proclamation : — 

" Mayor's Office, City of Cincinnati. 

11 In accordance with a resolution passed by the City 
Council of Cincinnati on the first instant, I hereby 
request that all business of every kind or character be 
suspended at ten o'clock of this day, and that all per- 
sons, employers and employees, assemble 'in their re- 
spective wards, at the usual places of voting, and then 

and there organize themselves in such manner as may 
100 



THE BLACK BRIGADE OF CINCINNATI. 101 

be thought best for the defence of the city. Every man, 
of every age, be he citizen or alien, who lives under the 
protection of our laws, is expected to take part in the 
organization. 

" Witness my hand, and the corporate seal of the city 
of Cincinnati, this second day of September, A.D. 1862. 

" GEORGE HATCH, Mayor." 

At two o'clock on the morning of the same day, the 
mayor issued another proclamation, notifying the citi- 
zens that the police force would perform the duty of a 
provost-guard, under the direction of Gen. Wallace. 

The mayor's proclamation, under ordinary circum- 
stances, would be explicit enough. " Every man, of every 
age, be he citizen or alien/ 7 surely meant the colored 
people. A number thought themselves included in the 
call ; but, remembering the ill-will excited by former of- 
fers for home defence, they feared to come forward for 
enrolment. The proclamation ordered the people to as- 
semble " in the respective wards, at the usual places of 
voting." The colored people had no places of voting. 
Added to this, George Hatch was the same mayor who 
had broken up the movement for home defence, before 
mentioned. Seeking to test the matter, a policeman was 
approached, as he strutted in his new dignity of provost- 
guard. To the question, humbly, almost tremblingly, 
put, "Does the mayor desire colored men to report for 
service in the city's defence ? V he replied, " You know 
d d well he does'nt mean you. Niggers ain't citi- 
zens." — "But he calls on all, citizens and aliens. ' If 
he does not mean all, he should not say so." — " The 
mayor knows as well as you do what to write, and all he 
wants is for you niggers to keep quiet." This was at 



102 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

nine o'clock on the morning of the second. The military 
authorities had determined, however, to impress the col- 
ored men for work upon the fortifications. The priv- 
ilege of volunteering, extended to others, was to be 
denied to them. Permission to volunteer would imply 
some freedom, some dignity, some independent manhood. 
For this the commanding officer is alone chargeable. 

If the guard appointed to the duty of collecting the 
colored people had gone to their houses, and notified 
them to report for duty on the fortifications, the order 
would have been cheerfully obeyed. But the brutal 
ruffians who composed the regular and special police 
took every opportunity to inflict abuse and insult upon 
the men whom they arrested. The special police was 
entirely composed of that class of the population, which, 
only a month before, had combined to massacre the col- 
ored population, and were only prevented from commit- 
ting great excesses by the fact that John Morgan, with 
his rough riders, had galloped to within forty miles of 
the river, when the respectable citizens, fearing that the 
disloyal element within might combine with the raiders 
without, and give the city over to pillage, called a meet- 
ing on 'Change, and demanded that the riot be stopped. 
The special police was, in fact, composed of a class too 
cowardly or too traitorous to aid, honestly and manfully, 
in the defence of the city. They went from house to 
house, followed by a gang of rude, foul-mouthed boys. 
Closets, cellars, and garrets were searched ; bayonets 
were thrust into beds and bedding ; old and young, sick 
and well, were dragged out, and, amidst shouts and jeers, 
marched like felons to the pen on Plum Street, opposite 
the Cathedral. No time was given to prepare for camp- 
life; in most cases no information was given of the pur- 



THE BLACK BRIGADE OF CINCINNATI. 103 

pose for which the men were impressed. The only- 
answers to questions were curses, and a brutal " Come 
along now; you will find out time enough." Had the 
city been captured by the Confederates, the colored peo- 
ple would have suffered no more than they did at the 
hands of these defenders. Tuesday night, Sept. 2, was 
a sad night to the colored people of Cincinnati. The 
greater part of the male population had been dragged 
from home, across the river, but where, and for what, 
none could tell. 

The captain of these conscripting squads was one Wil- 
liam Homer, and in him organized ruffianism had its 
fitting head. He exhibited the brutal malignity of his 
nature in a continued series of petty tyrannies. Among 
the first squads marched into the yard was one which 
had to wait several hours before being ordered across 
the river. Seeking to make themselves as comfortable 
as possible, they had collected blocks of wood, and piled 
up bricks, upon which they seated themselves on the 
shaded side of the yard. Coming into the yard, he or- 
dered all to rise, marched them to another part, then 
issued the order, "D — n you, squat.' 7 Turning to the 
guard, he added, "Shoot the first one who rises." 
Reaching the opposite side of the river, the same squad 
were marched from the sidewalk into the middle of the 
dusty road, and again the order, " D — n you, squat," 
and the command to shoot the first one who should rise. 

The drill of this guard of white ruffians was unique, 
and not set down in either Scott or Hardee. Calling up 
his men, he would address them thus : " Now, you fel- 
lows, hold up your heads. Pat, hold your musket 
straight; don't put your tongue out so far; keep your eyes 
open : I believe you are drunk. Now, then, I want jwi 



104 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

i 

fellows to go out of this pen, and bring all the niggers 
you can catch. Don't come back here without niggers: 
if you do, you shall not have a bit of grog. Now be off, 
you shabby cusses, and come back in forty minutes, and 
bring me niggers ; that's what I want." This barbarous 
and inhuman treatment of the colored citizens of Cincin- 
nati continued for four days, without a single word of 
remonstrance, except from the " Gazette." 

Finally, Col. Dickson, a humane man and gentlemanly 
officer, was "appointed to the command of the " Black 
Brigade/' and brutality gave way to kind treatment. 
The men were permitted to return to their homes, to 
allay the fears of their families, and to prepare them- 
selves the better for camp-life. The police were relieved 
of provost-guard duty, and on Friday morning more men 
reported for duty than had been dragged together by 
the police. Many had hidden too securely to be found ; 
others had escaped to the country. These now 
came forward to aid in the city's defence. With aug- 
mented numbers, and glowing with enthusiasm, the 
Black Brigade marched to their duty. Receiving the 
treatment of men, they were ready for any thing. Being 
in line of march, they were presented with a national . 
flag by Capt. Lupton, who accompanied it with the fol- 
lowing address : — 

"I have the kind permission of your commandant, 
Col. Dickson, to hand you, without formal speech or pre- 
sentation, this national flag, — my sole object to encour- 
age and cheer you on to duty. On its broad folds is 
inscribed, ' The Black Brigade of Cincinnati.' I am 
confident, that, in, your hands, it will not be dishonored. 

"The duty of the hour is work, — hard, severe labor 
on^the fortifications of the city. In the emergency upon 



THE BLACK BRIGADE OP CINCINNATI. 1G5 

us, the highest and the lowest alike owe this duty. Let 
it be cheerfully undertaken. He is no man who now, in 
defence of home and fireside, shirks duty. * 

" A flag is the emblem of sovereignty, a symbol and 
guaranty of protection. Every nation and people are 
proud of the flag of their country. England, for a thou- 
sand years, boasts her Red Flag and Cross of St. George; 
France glories in her Tri-color and Imperial Eagle ; ours, 
the ' Star-spangled Banner/ far more beautiful than they, 
— this dear old flag! — the sun in heaven never looked 
down on so pj^oud a banner of beauty and glory. Men 
of the Black Brigade, rally around it ! Assert your man- 
hood; be loyal to duty; be obedient, hopeful, patient. 
Slavery will soon die ; the slave-holders' rebellion, ac- 
cursed of God and man, will shortly and miserably perish. 
There will then be, through all the coming ages, in very 
truth, a land of the free, — one country, one flag, one 
destiny. 

' " I charge you, men of the Black Brigade of Cincin- 
nati, remember that for you, and for me, and for your 
children, and your children's children, there is but one 
flag, as there is but one Bible, and one God, the Father 
of us all." 

For nearly three weeks the Black Brigade labored 
upon the fortifications, their services beginning, as we 
have seen, Sept. 2, and terminating Sept. 20. 

When the brigade was mustered out, the commander 
thanked them in the following eloquent terms : — 

" Soldiers of the Black Brigade ! You have fin- 
ished the work assigned to you upon the fortifications 
for' the defence of the city. You are now to be dis- 
charged. You have labored faithfully ; you have made 
miles of military roads, miles of rifle-pits, felled hundreds 



106 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

of acres of the largest and loftiest forest trees, built 
magazines and forts. The hills across yonder river will 
; be a perpetual monument of your labors. You have, in 
no spirit of bravado, in no defiance of established preju- 
dice, but in submission to it, intimated to me your will- 
ingness to defend with your lives the fortifications your 
hands have built. Organized companies of men of your 
race have tendered their services to aid in the de- 
fence of the city. In obedience to the policy of the Gov- 
ernment, the authorities have denied you this privilege. 
In the department of labor permitted, you have, however, 
rendered a willing and cheerful service. Nor has your 
zeal been dampened by the cruel treatment received. 
The citizens, of both sexes, have encouraged you with 
their smiles and words of approbation ; the soldiers have 
welcomed you as co-laborers in the same great cause. 
But a portion of the police, ruffians in character, early 
learning that your services were accepted, and seeking 
to deprive you of the honor of voluntary labor, before 
opportunity was given you to proceed to the field, rudely 
seized you in the streets, in your places of business, in 
your homes, everywhere, hurried you into filthy pens, 
thence across the river to the fortifications, not permit- 
ting you to make any preparation for camp-life. You 
have borne this with the accustomed patience of your 
race; and when, under more favorable auspices, you have 
received only the protection due to a common humanity, 
you have labored cheerfully and effectively. 

" Go to your homes with the consciousness of having 
performed your duty, — of deserving, if you do not re- 
ceive, the protection of the law, and bearing with you 
the gratitude and respect of all honorable men. You 
have learned to suffer and to wait ; but, in your hours of 



THE BLACK BRIGADE OF CINCINNATI. 107 

adversity, remember that the same God who has num- 
bered the hairs of our heads, who watches over even 
the fate of a sparrow, is the God of your race as well as 
mine. The sweat-blood which the nation is now shed- 
ding at every pore is an awful warning of how fearful a 
thing it is to oppress the humblest being.' 7 

A letter in u The Tribune/ 7 dated Cincinnati, Sept. 7, 
giving an account of the enthusiasm of the people in 
rallying for the city's defence, says, " While all have 
done well, the negroes, as a class, must bear away the 
palm. When martial law was declared, a few prominent 
colored men tendered their services in any capacity de- 
sired. As soon as it became known that they would be 
accepted, Mayor Hatch's police commenced arresting 
them everywhere, dragging them away from their houses 
and places of business without a moment's notice, shut- 
ting them up in negro-pens, and subjecting them to the 
grossest abuse and indignity. Mr. Hatch is charged 
with secession proclivities. During the recent riots 
against the negroes, the animus of his police was entire- 
ly hostile to them, and many outrages were committed 
upon that helpless and unoffending class. On this occa- 
sion, the same course was pursued. No opportunity 
was afforded the negro to volunteer ; but they were 
treated as public enemies. They were taken over the 
river, ostensibly to work upon the fortification ; but 
were scattered, detailed as cooks for white regiments, 
some of them half-starved, and all so much abused that 
it finally caused a great outcry. When Gen. Wallace's 
attention was called to the matter, he requested Judge 
William M. Dickson, a prominent citizen, who is related 
by marriage to President Lincoln, to take the whole mat- 
ter in charge. Judge Dickson undertook the thankless 



108 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION 

task : organized the negroes into two regiments of three 
hundred each, made the proper provision for their com- 
fort, and set them at work upon the trenches. They 
have accomplished more than any other six hundred of 
the whole eight thousand men upon the fortifications. 
Their work has been entirely voluntary. Judge Dick- 
son informed them at the outset that all could go home 
who chose ; that it must be entirely a labor of love with 
them. Only one man of the whole number has availed 
himself of the privilege ; the rest have all worked cheer, 
fully and efficiently. One of the regiments is officered 
by white captains, the other by negroes. The latter 
proved so decidedly superior that both regiments will 
hereafter be commanded by officers of their own race. 
They are not only working, but drilling ; and they 
already go through some of the simpler military move- 
ments very creditably. Wherever they appear, they are 
cheered by our troops. Last night, one of the colored 
regiments, coming off duty for twenty-four hours, was 
halted in front of headquarters, at the Burnet House, 
front faced, and gave three rousing cheers for Gen. Wal- 
lace, and three more for Judge Dickson." 



CHAPTER XV. 

PROCLAMATION OF FREEDOM. 

Emancipation Proclamation. — Copperhead Yiew of It. — " Abraham 
Spare the South." — The Contrabands Rejoicing. — The Songs. — En- 
thusiasm. — Faith in God. — Negro Wit. — " Forever Free." 

On the 22d of September, 1862, President Lincoln 
sent forth his proclamation, warning the rebel States that 
he would proclaim emancipation to their slaves if such 
States did not return to the Union before the first day 
of the following January. Loud were the denunciations 
of the copperheads of the country ; and all the stale ar- 
guments against negro emancipation which had been 
used, in the West Indies thirty years before, and since 
then in our country, were newly vamped, and put for- 
ward to frighten the President and his Cabinet. 

The toleration of a great social wrong in any country 
is ever accompanied by blindness of vision, hardness of 
heart, and cowardice of mind, as well as moral deterio- 
ration and industrial impoverishment. Hence, whenever 
an earnest attempt is made for the removal of the wrong, 
those without eyes noisily declare that they see clearly 
that nothing but disastrous consequences will follow ; 
those who^re dead to all sensibility profess to be shocked 
beyond measure in contemplating the terrible scenes 
that must result from the change ; and those who have 
no faith in justice are thrown into spasms at the mention 
of its impartial administration. For a whole generation, 
covering the period of the antislavery struggle in this 

109 



110 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

country, have they not incessantly raised their senseless 
clamors and indignant outcries against the simplest claim 
of bleeding humanity to be released from its tortures, as 
• though it were a proposition to destroy all order, inaugu- 
rate universal ruin, and " let chaos come again? 7 ' 

" The proclamation won't reach the slaves/ 7 said one. 
" They wont heed it," said another. 

" This proclamation is an invitation to the blacks to 
murder their masters,' 7 remarked a Boston copperhead 
newspaper. " The slaves will fight for their masters/ 7 
said the same journal, the following day. 

" It will destroy the Union. 77 — " It is harmless and im- 
potent.' 7 — "It will excite slave insurrection. 77 — "The 
slaves will never hear of it. 77 — " It will excite the South 
to desperation. 77 — " The rebels will laugh it to scorn. 77 

Delegation after delegation waited on the President, 
and urged a postponement of emancipation. The Ken- 
tucky Congressional delegation did all in their power to 
put back the glorious event. Conservative old-line 
Whigs and backsliding antislavery men were afraid to 
witness the coming day. 

"Abraham, spare the South, 

Touch not a single slave, 
Nor e'en by word of mouth 

Disturb the thing, we crave. 
'Twas our forefathers' hand 

That slavery begot : 
There, Abraham, let it stand ; 

Thine acts shall harm it not," — 

cried thousands who called at the White House. 
Washington, Alexandria, and Georgetown were crowded 
with " contrabands ; 77 and hundreds were forwarded to 
the Sea Islands, to be occupied in cultivating the deserted 
plantations. As the day drew near, reports were circu- 



PROCLAMATION OF FREEDOM. Ill 

lated tbat the President would re-call the pledge. The 
friends of the negro were frightened; the negro himself 
trembled for fear that the cause would be lost. The blacks 
in all the Southern departments were behaving well, as 
if to deepen the already good impression made by them 
on the Government officials. Rejoicing meetings were 
advertised at the Tremont Temple, Boston, Cooper In- 
stitute, New York, and the largest hall in Philadelphia, 
and in nearly every city and large town in the north. 
Great preparation was made at the " Contraband Camp," 
in the District of Columbia. At the latter place, they 
met on the last night in December, 1362, in the camp, 
and waited patiently for the coming day, when they 
should become free. The fore part of the night was 
spent in singing and prayer, the following being sung 
several times : — 

" Oh, go down, Moses, 
Way down into Egypt's land ; 
Tell king Pharaoh 
To let my people go. 

Oh, Pharaoh said he would go cross, 

Let my people go. 
But Pharaoh and his host was lost, 

Let my people go. 

Chorus — Oh, go down, Moses, &c. 

Moses, stretch your hands across, 

Let my people go. 
And don't get lost in the wilderness, 

Let my people go. 

Chorus — Oh, go down, Moses, &c. 

You may hinder me here, but you can't up there, 

Let my people go. 
He sits in heaven, and answers prayer, 

Let my people go. 

Chorus — Oh, go down, Moses, &c." 



112 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

After this an old man struck up, in a clear and power- 
ful voice, " I am a free man now : Jesus Christ has made 
me free ! " the company gradually joining in ; and, before 
the close, the whole assemblage was singing in chorus. 

It was quite evident, through the exercises of the day 
and night, that the negroes regard the condition of the 
Israelites in Egypt as typical of their own condition in 
slavery ; and the allusions to Moses, Pharaoh, the Egyp. 
tian task-masters, and the unhappy condition of the cap- 
tive Israelites, were continuous ; and any reference to 
the triumphant escape of the Israelites across the Red 
Sea, and the destruction of their pursuing masters, was 
certain to bring out a strong " Amen ! " 

An old colored preacher, who displays many of the 
most marked peculiarities of his race, calling himself 
" John de Baptis," and known as such by his companions, 
from his habit of always taking his text, as he expresses 
it, from the " regulations ob de 2d chapter of Matthew, 
'And in those days came John de Baptis,'" came forward, 
and, taking his usual text, went on to show the necessity 
of following good advice, and rebuked his hearers Tor 
being more lawless than they were in Dixie. 

Then came another contraband brother, who said, — 

u Onst, the time was dat I cried all night. What's de 
matter? What's de matter? Matter enough. De nex 
inorniu' my child was to be sold, an' she was sold ; an' I 
neber spec to see her no more till de day ob judgment. 
Now, no more dat ! no more dat ! no more dat ! Wid 
my hands agin my breast I was gwine to my work, when 
de overseer used to whip me along. Now, no more dat! 
no more dat ! no more dat ! When I tirik what de Lord's 
done for us, an' brot us thro' de trubblcs, I feel dat I 
ought go inter his service. We'se free now, bress de 



PROCLAMATION OF FREEDOM. 113 

Lord ! (Amens ! were vociferated all over the building.) 
Dey can't sell my wife an' child any more, bress de Lord ! 
(Glory, glory! from the audience.) No more dat ! no 
more dat! no more dat, now! (Glory!) Presurdund 
Lincum hav shot 6e gate ! Dat's what de matter ! " and 
there was a prolonged response of Amens ! 

A woman on her knees exclaimed at the top of her 
voice, — 

'* If de Debbie do not ketch 
Jeff. Davis, dat infernal retch, 
An roast and frigazee dat rebble, 
Wat is de use ob any Debbie 1 M 

" Amen ! amen ! amen ! M cried many voices. 
At this juncture of the meeting, an intelligent contra* 
band broke out in the following strain : — 

" The first of January next, eighteen sixty-three, — 

So says the Proclamation, — the slaves will all be free ! 

To every kindly heart 'twill be the day of jubilee ; 

For the bond shall all go free*! 

i 
John Brown, the dauntless hero, with joy is looking on ; 

From his home among the angels he sees the coming dawn ; 

Then up with Freedom's banners, and hail the glorious morn 

When the slaves shall all go free ! 

We've made a strike for liberty ; the Lord is on our side ; 
And Christ, the friend of bondmen, shall ever be our guide ; 
And soon the cry will ring, throughout this glorious land so wide, 
' Let the bondmen all go free ! ' 

No more from crushed and bleeding hearts we hear the broken sigh ; 
No more from brothers bound in chains we'll hear the pleading cry ; 
For the happy day, 'the glorious day, is coming by and by, 
When the slaves shall all go free ! 

We're bound to make our glorious flag the banner of the free, 
The first of January next, eighteen sixty-three ; 
Of every loyal Northern heart the glad cry then shall be, 
1 Let the bondmen all go free I ' 
8 



114 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

' No Compromise with Slavery ! ' we hear the cheering sound, 
The road to peace and happiness ' Old Abe ' at last has found : 
With earnest hearts and willing hands to stand by him we're bound, 
While he sets the bondmen free ! 

The morning light is breaking: we see its cheering ray, — 
The light of Truth and Justice, that can never fade away ; 
And soon the light will brighten to a great and glorious day, 
When the slaves shall all go free ! 

And when we on the l other side ' do all together stand, 
As children of one family we'll clasp the friendly hand : 
We'll be a band of brothers in that brighter, better land, 
Where the bond shall all be free ! " 

After several others had spoken, George Payne, an- 
other contraband, made a few sensible remarks, some- 
what in these words : " Friends, don't you see de han' 
of God in dis? Haven't we a right to rejoice ? You 
all know you couldn't have such a ineetin' as dis down 
in Dixie ! Dat you all knows. 1 have a, right to rejoice ; 
an' so have you; for we shall be free in jus' about five 
minutes. Dat's a 'fact. I shall rejoice that God has 
placed Mr. Lincum in de president's chair, and dat he 
wouldn't let de rebels make peace until after dis new 
year. De Lord has heard de groans of de people, and 
has come down to deliver ! You all knows dat in Dixie 
you worked de day long, an' never got no satisfacshun. 
But here, what you make is yourn. I've woi*ked six 
months ; and what I've made is mine ! Let me tell you, 
though, don't be too free ! De lazy man can't go to 
heaven. You must be honest, an' work, an' show dat 
you is fit to be free ; an' de Lord will bless you an' Abrum 
Lincum. Amen ! " 

A small black man, with a rather cracking voice, ap- 
pearing by his jestures to be inwardly on fire, began 
jumping, and singing the following : — 



PROCLAMATION OP FREEDOM. 115 

" Massa gone, missy too ; 
Cry ! niggers, cry ! 
Tink I'll see de bressed Norf, 
'Fore de day I die. 

Hi ! hi ! Yankee shot 'im ; 
Now I tink de debbil's got 'im." 

The whole company then joined in singing the an- 
oexed song, which made the welkin ring, and was heard 
far beyond the camp. 



n Oh ! we all longed for freedom, 
Oh ! we all longed for freedom, 
Oh ! we all longed for freedom, 
Ah ! we prayed to be free ; 
Yes, we prayed to be free, 
Oh ! we prayed to be free, 
Though the day was long in coming, 
Though the day was long in coming, 
Though the day was long in coming, 
That we so longed to see, 
That we so longed to see, 
That we so longed to see, 
Though the day was long in coming 
• That we so longed to see. 

ii. 

But bless the great Jehovah, ' 
But bless the great Jehovah, 
But bless the great Jehovah, 
At last the glad day's come, 
At last the glad day's come, 
At last the glad day's come. 
By fire and sword he brought us, 
By fire and sword he brought us, 
By fire and sword he brought us, 
From slavery into freedom, 
From slavery into freedom, 
From slavery into Freedom ; 
By fire and sword he brought us 
From slavery into freedom. 



116 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION, 

<r 
III. 

We'll bless the great Redeemer, 
We'll bless the great Redeemer, 
We'll bless the great Redeemer, 

And glorify his name, 

And glorify his name, 

And glorify his name, 
And all who helped to bring us, 
And all who helped to bring us, 
And all who helped to bring us 

From sorrow, grief, and shame, 

From sorrow, grief, and shame, 

From sorrow, grief, and shame, 
And all who helped to bring us 

From sorrow, grief, and shame. 

IV. 

And blessed be Abraham Lincoln, 

- And blessed be Abraham Lincoln, 

And blessed be Abraham Lincoln, 

And the Union army too, 

And the Union army too. 
May the choicest of earth's blessings, 
May the choicest of earth's blessings, 
May the choicest of earth's blessings, 

Their pathways ever strew, 

Their pathways ever strew, 

Their pathways ever strew ! 
May the choicest of earth's blessings 

Their pathways ever strew ! 

v. 

We'll strive to learn our duty, 
We'll strive to learn our duty, 
We'll strive to learn our duty, 
That all our friends may see, 
That all our friends may see, 
That all our friends may see, 
Though so long oppressed in bondage, 
Though so long oppressed in bondage, 
Though so long oppressed in bondage, 



PROCLAMATION OF FREEDOM. 117 

We were worthy to be free, 
We were worthy to be free, 
We were worthy to be free : 
Though so long oppressed in bondage, 
We were worthy to be free." 

Just before midnight, Dr. Nichols requested all pres- 
ent to kneel, and to silently invoke the blessing of the 
Almighty. The silence was almost deadly when the 
clock announced the new year; and Dr. Nichols said, 
" Men and women (for you are this day to be declared 
free, and I can address you as men and women), I wish 
you a happy new year !" An eloquent prayer was then 
offered by an aged negro ; after which, all rose, and joined 
in singing their version of " Glory ! glory ! hallelujah ! " 
shaking each other by the hand, and indulging in joy- 
ous demonstrations. They then promenaded the grounds, 
singing hymns, and«finally serenaded the superintendent, 
in whose honor a sable improvisatore carolled forth an 
original ode, the chorus of which was, " Free forever ! 
Forever free ! " 

" Ring, ring ! Bell of Freedom, ring ! 
And to the ears of bondmen bring 
Thy sweet and freeman-thrilling tone. 
On Autumn's blast, from zone to zone, 
The joyful tidings go proclaim, 
In Liberty's hallowed name : 
Emancipation to the slave, 
The rights which his Creator gave, 
To live with chains asunder riven, 
To live free as the birds of heaven, 
To live free as the air he breathes, 
Entirely free from galling greaves ; 
The right to act, to know, to feel. 
That bands of iron and links of steel 
Were never wrought to chain the mind, 
Nor human flesh in bondage bind ; 



118 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

That Heaven, in its generous plan, 

Grave like and equal rights to man. 

Go send thy notes from shore to shore, 

Above the deep-voiced cannon's roar ; 

Go send Emancipation's peal 

Where clashes North with Southern steel, 

And nerve the Southern bondmen now 

To rise and strike the final blow, 

To lay Oppression's minions low. 

Oh ! rouse the mind and nerve the arm 

To brave the blast and face the storm ; 

And, ere the war-cloud passes by, 

We'll have aland of liberty. 

Our God has said, " Let there be light 
Where Error palls the land with night." 
Then send forth now, Freedom's bell, 
Foul Slavery's last and fatal knell ! 
Oh ! speed the tidings o'er the land, 
That tells that stern Oppression's hand 
Has yielded to the power of Right : 
That Wrong is weak, that Truth is might ! 



Then Union shall again return, 

And Freedom's fires shall brightly burn ; 

And peace and jot, sweet guests, shall come, 

And dwell in every heart and home." 

" Free forever ! Forever free ! " 

No pen can fitly portray the scene that followed this 
announcement. Every heart seemed to leap for joy: 
some were singing, some praying, some weeping, some 
dancing, husbands embracing wives, friends shaking 
hands, and appearing to feel that the Day of Jubilee 
had come. A sister broke out in the following strain, 
which was heartily joined in by the vast assembly : — 

" Go down, Abraham, away down in Dixie's land, 
Tell Jeff. Davis to let my people go. 



PROCLAMATION OF FREEDOM. 119 

Our bitter tasks are ended, all our unpaid labor done ; 

Our galling chains are broken, and our onward march begun : 

Go down, Abraham, away down in Dixie's land, 

Tell Jeff. Davis to let my people go. 

Down in the house of bondage we have watched and waited long ; 
The oppressor's heel was heavy, the oppressor's arm was strong : 

Go down, Abraham, away down in Dixie's land, 

Tell Jeff. Davis to let my people go. 

Not vainly have we waited through the long and darkened years ; 
Not vain the patient watching, 'mid our sweat and blood and tears : 

Go down, Abraham, away down in Dixie's land, 

Tell Jeff. Davis to let my people go. 

Now God is with Grant, and he'll surely whip Lee; 
For the Proclamation says that the niggers must be free : 

Go down, Abraham, away down in Dixie's land, 

Tell Jeff. Davis to let my people go." 

Thus ended the last night of slavery in the contraband 
camp at Washington. 

The morning of Jan. 1, 1863, was anxiously looked 
for by the friends of freedom throughout the United 
States; and, during the entire day, the telegraph offices 
in the various places were beset by crowds, waiting to 
hear the news from the Nation's capital. Late in the 
day the following proclamation made its appearance : — 

Washington, Jan. 1, 1863. — I Abraham Lincoln, Presi- 
dent of the United States of America, do issue this my 
Proclamation : — 

Whereas, On the 22d day of September, in the year of 
our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, a 
proclamation was issued by the President of the United 
States, containing, among other things, the following, to 
wit: — 

" That, on the first day of January, in the year of our 



120 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all 
persons held as slaves within any State or any desig- 
nated part of a State,, the people whereof shall then be 
in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, 
henceforward, and forever, free ; and the Executive 
Government of the United States, including the military 
and naval force thereof, will recognize and maintain the 
freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to re- 
press such persons, or any of them, in any effort they may 
make for their actual freedom ; that the Executive will, 
on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, 
designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which 
the people therein respectively shall then be in rebel- 
lion against the United States ; and the fact that any 
State or people thereof shall on that day be in good faith 
represented in the Congress of the United States by 
members chosen thereto, at elections wherein a majority 
of the qualified voters of such States shall have partici- 
pated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing tes- 
timony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State 
and the people thereof are not then in rebellion against 
the United States. 

" Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the 
United States, by virtue of- the power in me vested, 
as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the 
United States in times of actual rebellion against the 
authorities and Government of the United States, and 
as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing this 
rebellion, do on this, the first day of January, in the year 
of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, 
and in accordance with my purpose so to do, publicly pro- 
claimed for the full period of one hundred days from the 
date of the first above-mentioned order, do designate as 



- PROCLAMATION OF FREEDOM. 121 

the States and parts of States wherein the people there- 
of, respectively, are this day in rebellion against the 
United States. The following, to wit : — 

"Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, 
Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and 
Virginia. 

" Louisiana (except the parishes of St. Bernard, Plac- 
quemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, 
Ascension, Assumption, Terre Bonne, Lafourche, St. 
Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the city of New 
Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South 
Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, except the forty- 
eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the 
counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth 
City, York, Princess Anne, and Norfolk, including the 
cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth, which excepted p:\rts 
are for the present left precisely as if this .proclamation 
were not made. 

"And by virtue of the power, for the purpose aforesaid, 
I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves 
within said designated States and parts of States are, and 
henceforward shall be, free ; and the Executive Govern- 
ment of the United States, including the military and 
naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain 
the freedom of such persons. 

"And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to 
be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary 
nelf-defence ; and I recommend to them, that, in all cases 
where allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages. 

" And I further declare and make known, that such per- 
sons, if in suitable condition, will be received into the 
armed service of the United States, to garrison forts, posi- 
tions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of 



122 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

all sorts in said service. And upon this, sincerely be- 
lieved to be an act of justice warranted by the Consti- 
tution, and upon military necessity, I invoke the consid- 
erate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of 
Almighty God. 

u In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

"Done at the city of Washington, this first day of Jan- 
uary, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 
and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United 
States of America the eighty-seventh. 

[l. s.] (Signed) " ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 

" By the President. 

" Wm. H. Seward, Secretary of State. 11 

This was the beginning of a new era : the word had 
gone forth, and a policy was adopted. 

" The deed is done. Millions have yearned 
To see the spear of Freedom cast : 
The dragon writhed and roared and burned ; 
You've smote him full and square at last." 

The proclamation gave new life and vigor to our men 
on the battle-field. The bondmen everywhere caught up 
the magic word, and went with it from farm to farm, and 
from town to town. Black men flocked to recruiting sta- 
tions, and offered themselves for the war. Everybody saw 
light in the distance. What newspapers and orators had 
failed to do in months was done by the proclamation in 
a single week. Prances Ellen Harper, herself colored, 
cheered in the following strain : — 



PROCLAMATION OF FREEDOM. 123 

"It shall flash through coming ages; 
It shall light the distant years ; 
And eyes now dim with sorrow 

Shall be brighter through their tears. 

It shall flush the mountain ranges, 

And the valleys shall grow bright ; 
It shall bathe the hills in radiance, 

And crown their brows with light. 

It shall flood with golden splendor 

All the huts of Caroline ; 
And the sun-kissed brow of labor 

With lustre new shall shine. 

It shall gild the gloomy prison, 

Darkened with the age's crime, 
Where the dumb and patient millions 

Wait the better coming time. 

By the light that gilds their prison, 

They shall seize its mouldering key ; 
And the bolts and bars shall vibrate 

With the triumphs of the free. 

Like the dim and ancient Chaos, 

Shuddering at Creation's light, 
Oppression grim and hoary 

Shall cower at the sight. 

And her spawn of lies and malice 

Shall grovel in the dust ; 
While joy shall thrill the bosoms 

Of the merciful and just. 

Though the morning seems to linger 

O'er the hi 11- tops far away, 
The shadows bear the promise 

Of the quickly coming day. 

Soon the mists and murky shadows 

Shall be fringed with crimson light, 
And the glorious dawn of freedom 

Break resplendent on the sight." 



CHAPTER XVI. 



THE NEW POLICY. 



A New Policy announced. — Adjutant-Gen. Thomas. — Major-Gen. Pren- 
tiss. — Negro Wit and Humor. — Proslavery Correspondents. — Feel- 
ing in the Army. — Let the Blacks fight. 

Attorney-Gen. Bates had already given bis opinion 
with regard to the citizenship of the negro, and that 
opinion was in the black man's favor. The Emancipa- 
tion Proclamation was only a prelude to calling on the 
colored men to take up arms, and the one soon followed 
the other ; for the word " Emancipation " had scarcely 
gone over the wires, ere Adjutant-Gen. Thomas made 
his appearance in the valley of the Mississippi. At Lake 
Providence, La., he met a large wing of the army, 
composed of volunteers from all parts of the country, and 
proclaimed to them the new policy of the administration; 
and he did it in very plain words, as will be seen : — 

" Fellow-Soldiers, — Your commanding general has 
so fully stated the object of my mission, that it is almost 
unnecessary for me to say any thing to you in reference 
to it. Still, as I come here with full authority from the 
President of the United States to announce the policy, 
which, after mature deliberation, has been determined 
upon by the wisdom of the nation, it is my duty to make 
known to you clearly and fully the features of that poli- 
cy. It is a source of extreme gratification to me to come 

124 



THE NEW POLICY. 125 

before you this day, knowing, as I do full well, how glo- 
rious have been your achievements on the field of battle. 
No soldier can come before soldiers of tried valor, with- 
out having the deepest emotions of his soul stirred with- 
in him. These emotions I feel on the present occasion ; 
and I beg you will listen to what I have to say, as sol- 
diers receiving from a soldier the commands of the 
President of the United States. 

"I came from Washington clothed with the fullest pow- 
er in this matter. With this power, I can act as if the 
President of the United States were himself present. I 
am directed to refer nothing to Washington, but to act 
promptly, — what I have to do to do at once ; to strike 
down the unworthy and to elevate the deserving. 

" Look along the river, and see the multitude of de- 
serted plantations upon its banks. These are the places 
for these freedmen, where they can be self-sustaining and 
self-supporting. All of you will some day be on picket- 
duty ; and I charge you all, if any of this unfortunate race 
come within your lines, that you do not turn them away, 
but receive them kindly and cordially. They are to be 
encouraged to come to us ; they are to be received 
with open arms ; they are to be fed and clothed ; they 
are to be armed. 

u . This is the policy that has been fully determined upon. 
I am here to say that I am authorized to raise as many 
regiments of blacks as I can. I am authorized to give 
commissions, from the highest to the lowest ; and I de- 
sire those persons who are earnest in this work to take 
hold of it. I desire only those whose hearts are in it, 
and to them alone will I give commissions. I don't care 
who they are, or what their present rank may be. I do 
not hesitate to say, that all proper persons will receive 
commissions. 



128 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

u While I am authorized thus in the name of the Secre- 
tary of War, I have the fullest authority to dismiss from 
the army any man, be his rank what it may, whom I find 
maltreating the freedmen. This part of my duty I will 
most assuredly perform if any case comes before me. I 
would rather do that than give commissions, because 
such men are unworthy the name of soldiers. 

" This, fellow-soldiers, is the determined policy of the 
Administration. You all know, full well, when the 
President of the United States, though said to be slow 
in coming to a determination, once puts his foot down, 
it is there ; and he is not going to take it up. He has 
put his foot down. I am here to assure you that my offi- 
cial influence shall be given that he shall not raise it." 

Major-Gen. B. M. Prentiss, after the cheering had 
subsided which greeted his appearance, indorsed, in a 
forcible and eloquent speech, the policy announced by 
Adjutant-Gen. Thomas, and said, that, " from the time 
he was a prisoner, and a negro sentinel, with firm step, 
beat in front of his cell, and with firmer voice com- 
manded silence within, he prayed God for the day of 
revenge ; and he now thanked God that it had come." 

Turning to Gen. Thomas, the speaker continued, 
" Yes : tell the President for me, I will receive them 
into the lines ; I will beg them to come in ; I will make 
them come in ! and if any officer in my command, high 
or low, neglects to receive them friendly , and treat them 
kindly, I will put them outside the lines, (Tremendous 
applause.) Soldiers, when you go to your quarters, if 
you hear any one condemning the policy announced 
here to-day, put him down as a contemptible copper- 
head traitor. Call them what you please, copperheads, 
secesh, or traitors, they are all the same to me : enemies 



THE NEW POLICY. 127 

■-: 

of our country, against whom I have taken a solemn 
oath, and called God as my witness, to whip them wher- 
ever I find them. 77 

Congress had already passed a bill empowering the 
President " to enroll, arm, equip, and receive into the 
land and naval service of the United States, such a num- 
ber of volunteers of African descent as he may deem 
equal to suppress the present rebellion, for such term of 
service as he may prescribe, not exceeding five years ; 
the said volunteers to be organized according to the regu- 
lations of the branch of the service into which they may 
be enlisted, to receive the same rations, clothing, and 
equipments as other volunteers, and a monthly pay not 
to exceed that of the volunteers/ 7 

Proslavery newspaper correspondents from the North, 
in the Western and Southern departments, still contin- 
ued to report to their journals that the slaves would not 
fight if an opportunity was offered to them. Many of 
these were ridiculously amusing. The following is a 
sample : — 

" I noticed upon the hurricane-deck, to-day, an elderly 
negro, with a very philosophical and retrospective cast 
of countenance, squatted upon his bundle, toasting his 
shins against the chimney, and apparently plunged into 
a state of profound meditation. Finding by inquiry 
that he belonged to the Ninth Illinois, one of the most 
gallantly-behaved and heavily-losing regiments at the 
Fort-Donelson battle, and part of which was aboard, I 
began to interrogate him upon the subject. His philos- 
ophy was so much in the Falstaffian vein that I will give 
his views in his own words, as near as my memory 
serves me: — 

i{ ' Were you in the fight ? 7 



128 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

" l Had a little taste of it, sa.' 

" ' Stood your ground, did you ? ' 

ili No, sa; I runs. 7 

" ' Run at the first fire, did you ? 7 

" ' Yes, sa ; and would ha 7 run soona had I know 7 d it 
war comin'.' 

" l Why, that wasn't very creditable to your courage. 7 

" l Dat isn't in my line, sa ; cookin's my perfeshun. 7 

" l Well, but have you no regard for your reputation? 7 

"'Refutation's nuffin by the side ob life. 7 

u \ Do you consider ytfur life worth more than other 
people's ? ' 

" { It's worth more to me, sa. 7 

" l Then you must value it very highly. 7 

" ' Yes, sa, I does ; more dan all dis wuld ; more dan 
a million of dollars, sa : for what would dat be wuf to a 
man wid de bref out of him. Self-perserbashum am de 
fust law wid me. 7 

u c But why should you act upon a different rule from 
other men ? 7 

" ' Because different men set different values upon dar 
lives : mine is not in de market. 7 

" c But if you lost it, you would have the satisfaction 
of knowing that you died for your country. 7 

" i What satisfaction would dat be to me when do 
power ob feelin' was gone ? 7 

" ' Then patriotism and honor are nothing to you ? 7 

" ' Nuffin whatever, sa : I regard dem as among de 
vanities ; and den de gobernment don't know me ; I hab 
no rights ; may be sold like old hoss any day, and dat's 
all' ' 

" i If our old soldiers were like you, traitors might 
have broken up the Government without resistance. 7 



THE NEW POLICY. 129 

"'Yes, sa; dar would hab been no help for it. I 
wouldn't put my life in de scale 'ginst any gobernment 
dat ever existed ; for no gobernment could replace de 
loss to me.' 

" l Do you think any of your company would have 
missed you if you had been killed ? ' 

" ( May be not, sa ; a dead white man ain't much to 
dese sogers, let alone a dead nigga ; but I'd a missed 
myself, and dat was de pint wid me.' 

" It is safe to say that the dusky corpse of that African 
will never darken the field of carnage." 



CHAPTEE XVII. 



ARMING THE BLACKS. 



Department of the South. — Gen. Hunter Enlisting Colored Men. — Let- 
ter to Gov. Andrew. — Success. — The Earnest Prayer. — The Negro's 
Confidence in God. 

The ^Northern regiments stationed at the South, or 
doing duty in that section, had met with so many re- 
verses on the field of battle, and had been so inhumanly 
treated by the rebels, both men and women, that the 
new policy announced by Adjutant-Gen. Thomas, at 
Lake Providence and other places, was received with 
great favor, especially when the white soldiers heard 
from their immediate commanders, that the freedmen, 
when enlisted, would be employed in doing fatigue-duty, 
when not otherwise needed. The slave, regarding the 
use of the musket as the only means of securing his 
freedom permanently, sought the nearest place of enlist- 
ment with the greatest speed. 

The appointment of men from the ranks of the white 
regiments over the blacks caused the former to feel 
still more interest in the new levies. The position 
taken by Major-Gen. Hunter, in South Carolina, and his 
favorable reports of the capability of the freedmen for 
military service, and the promptness with which that 
distinguished scholar and Christian gentleman, Thomas 
Wentworth Higginson, accepted the colonelcy of the 
First South Carolina, made the commanding of negro 

130 



ARMING THE BLACKS. 131 

regiments respectable, and caused a wish on the part of 
white volunteers to seek commissions over the blacks. 

The new regiments filled up rapidly ; the recruits 
adapted themselves to their new condition with a zeal 
that astonished even their friends; and their proficiency 
in the handling of arms, with only a few days 7 training, 
set the minds of their officers at rest with regard to 
their future action. The following testimonial from 
Gen. Hunter is not without interest : — 

v Headquarters Department of the South, 
Hilton Head, Port Royal, S.C., May 4, 1863. 

w To His Excellency the Governor of Massachusetts, Boston, 
Mass. 
• •••••*••• 

" I am happy to be able to announce to you my com- 
plete and eminent satisfaction with the results of the 
organization of negro regiments in this department. In 
the field, so far as tried, they have proved brave, active, 
enduring, and energetic, frequently outrunning, by their 
zeal, and familiarity with the Southern country, the re- 
strictions deemed prudent by certain of their officers. 
They have never disgraced their uniform by pillage or 
cruelty, but have so conducted themselves, upon the 
whole, that even our enemies, though more anxious to 
find fault with these than with any other portion of our 
troops, have not yet been able to allege against them a 
single violation of any of the rules of civilized war- 
fare. 

" These regiments are hardy, generous, temperate, 
patient, strictly obedient, possessing great natural apti- 
tude for arms, and deeply imbued with that religious 
sentiment — call it fanaticism, such as like — which 



132 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

made the soldiers of Cromwell invincible. They believe 
that now is the time appointed by God for their deliver- 
ance ; and, under the heroic incitement of this faith, I 
believe them capable of showing a courage, and persist- 
ency of purpose, which must, in the end, extort both 
victory and admiration. 

" In this connection, I am also happy to announce to 
you that the prejudices of certain of our white soldiers 
and officers against these indispensable allies are rap- 
idly softening, or fading out ; and that we have now 
opening before us in this department, which was the 
first in the present war to inaugurate the experiment of 
employing colored troops, large opportunities of putting 
them to distinguished and profitable use. 

" With a brigade of liberated slaves already in the 
field, a few more regiments of intelligent colored men 
from the North would soon place this force in a condi- 
tion to make extensive incursions upon the main land, 
through the most densely populated slave regions ; and, 
from expeditions of this character, I make no doubt the 
most beneficial results would arise. 

"I have the honor to be, Governor, 
a Yery respectfully, 

!* Your most obedient servant, 

" D. HUNTER, 
"Major-Gen. Commanding." 

Reports from all parts of the South gave corroborative 
evidence of the deep religious zeal with which the 
blacks entered the army. Every thing was done for 
" God and liberty." 

Col. T. W. Higginson, in " The Atlantic Monthly," 
gives the following prayer, which he heard from one 
of his contraband soldiers: — 



ARMING THE BLACKS. 133 

" < Let me so lib dat when I die I shall hab manners ; 
dat I shall know what to say when I see my heabenly 
Lord. 

"'Let me lib wid de musket in one hand, an' de Bible 
in de oder — dat if I die at de muzzle of de musket, die 
in de water, die on de land, I may know I hab de bressed 
Jesus in my hand, an 7 hab no fear. 

" 1 1 hab lef my wife in de land o 7 bondage ; my little 
ones dey say eb 7 ry night, -" Whar is my fader?" But 
when I die, when de bressed mornin 7 rises, when I shall 
stan 7 in de glory, wid one foot on de water an' one foot 
on de land, den, Lord ! I shall see mywife an' my little 
chiPen once more.'" 

" These sentences I noted down, as best I could, beside 
the glimmering camp-fire last night. The same person 
was the hero of a singular little contre-temps at a funeral 
in the afternoon. It was our first funeral. The man 
had died in hospital, and we had chosen a picturesque 
burial place above the river, near the old church, and 
beside a little nameless cemetery, used by generations 
of slaves. It was a regular military funeral, the coffin 
being draped with the American flag, the escort march- 
ing behind, and three volleys fired over the grave. 
During the services, there was singing, the chaplain 
deaconing out the hymn in their favorite way. This 
ended, he announced his text : ' This poor man cried, 
and the Lord heard him, and delivered him out of all his 
trouble. 7 Instantly, to my great amazement, the cracked 
voice of the chorister was uplifted, intoning the text, as 
if it were the first verse of another hymn. So calmly 
was it done, so imperturbable were all the black counte- 
nances that I half began to conjecture that the chaplain 
himself intended it for a hymn, though I could imagine 



134 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

no prospective rhyme for trouble, unless it were approxi- 
mated by debbil; which is, indeed, a favorite reference, 
both with the men and with his reverence. But the 
chaplain, peacefully awaiting, gently repeated his text 
after the chant, and to my great relief the old chorister 
waived all further recitative, and let the funeral dis- 
course proceed. 

" Their memories are a vast bewildered chaos of Jewish 
history and biography ; and most of the great events of 
the past, down to the period of the American Revolu- 
tion, they instinctively attribute to Moses. There is a 
fine bold confidence in all their citations, however, and 
the record never loses piquancy in their hands, though 
strict accuracy may suffer. Thus one of my captains, 
last Sunday, heard a colored exhorter at Beaufort pro- 
claim, l Paul may plant, and may polish void water, but it 
won't do/ in which the sainted Apollos would hardly 
have recognized himself. 

A correspondent of the Burlington " Free Press " gives 
an account of a Freedmen's meeting at Belle Plain, Va. 
" Some of the negro prayers and exhortations were very 
simple and touching. One said in his prayer/ Lord ! 
we's glad for de hour when our sins nailed us to de foot 
of de cross, and de bressed Lord Jesus put his soft arm 
around us, and tole us dat we's his chillen : we's glad 
we's sinners, so dat we can be saved by his grace/ 
Another thus earnestly prayed for the army of freedom : 
' Lord ! bress de Union army ; be thou their bulwarks 
and ditches. Lord ! as thou didst hear our prayer 
when we's down in de Souf country, as we held de plow 
and de hoe in the hot sun, so hear our prayer at dis time 
for de Union army. Guard 'em on de right, and on de 
lef,' and in de rear : don't lef' 'em 'lone, though they's 



ARMING THE BLACKS. 135 

mighty wicked.' Another (a young man) thus energeti- 
cally desired the overthrow of Satan's empire : l Lord ! 
if you please, sir, won't you come forth out of de heaven, 
and take ride 'round about hell, and give it a mighty 
shake till de walls fall down.' 

"A venerable exhorter got the story of the Prodigal 
Son slightly mixed, but not so as to damage the effect at 
all. He said, l He rose up and went to his fader's house. 
And I propose he was ragged. And I propose de road 
dirty. But when his fader saw him coming over de hill, 
ragged and dirty, he didn't say, " Dat ain't my son." He 
go and meet him. He throw his arms round his neck 
and kiss ; and, while he was hugging and kissing him, he 
thought of dat robe in de wardroom, and he said, " Bring 
dat robe, and put it on him." And when dey was a putting 
on de robe, he thought of de ring, dat splendid ring ! and 
he said, u My son, dat was dead and is alive again, he like 
dat ring, cos it shine so." And he made dem bring de ring 
and put it on his hand ; and he put shoes on his feet, and 
killed de fatted calf. And here, my friends, see de 'fection 
of de prodigal for his son. But, my bredren, you are a 
great deal better off dan de prodigal's son. For he 
hadn't no gemmen of a different color to come and tell 
him dat his fader was glad to hab him come home again. 
But dese handmaid bredren has kindly come dis evening 
to tell us dat our heabenly Father wants us to come 
back now. He's ready to gib us de robe and de ring. 
De bressed Lord Jesus stands leaning over de bannis- 
ters of heaven, and reaching down his arms to take us 
up. my friends ! I ask you dis night to repent. If 
you lose your soul, you'll never get anoder. I tell you 
all, if you don't repent you're goin' straight to hell ; and 
in de last day, when de Lord say to you, " Depart from 



136 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

me, ye cursed, into everlastin' fire," if you're 'onorable, 
you'll own up, and say it's right. my friends ! I tell 
you de truth : it's de best way to come to de Lord Jesus 
dis night.' " 

Regiment after regiment of blacks were mustered 
into the United-States service, in all the rebel States, 
and were put on duty at once, and were sooner or later 
called to take part in battle. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

BATTLE OF MILLIKEN ? S BEND. 

Contraband Regiments ; their Braver y ; the Surprise. — Hand to hand 
Fight. — " No Quarters." — Negroes rather die than surrender. — The 
Gunboat and her dreadful Havoc with the Enemy. 

On the 7th of June, 1863, the first regular battle was 
fought between the blacks and whites in the valley of 
the Mississippi. The planters had boasted, that, should 
they meet their former slaves, a single look from them 
would cause the negroes to throw down their weapons, 
and run. Many Northern men, especially copperheads, 
professed to believe that such would be the case. There- 
fore, all eyes were turned to the far off South, the cot- 
ton, sugar, and rice-growing States, to see how the blacks 
would behave on the field of battle ; for it is well known 
that the most ignorant of the slave population belonged 
in that section. 

The following account of the fight is from an eye wiv 
ness : — 

" My informant states that a force of about five hun- 
dred negroes, and two hundred men of the Twenty-third 
Iowa, belonging to the second brigade, Carr's division 
(the Twenty-third Iowa had been up the river with pris- 
oners, and was on its way back to this place), was sur- 
prised in camp by a rebel force of about two thousand 
men. The first intimation that the commanding officer 
received was from one of the black men, who went into 

137 



138 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

the colonel's tent, and said, l Massa, the seeesh are in 
camp." The colonel ordered him to have the men load 
their guns at once. He instantly replied, u We have 
done did dat now, massa." Before the colonel was 
ready, the men were in line, ready for action. As be- 
fore stated, the rebels drove our force towards the gun- 
boats, taking colored men prisoners and murdering them. 
This so enraged them that they rallied, and charged the 
enemy more heroically and desperately than has been 
recorded during the war. It was a genuine bayonet- 
charge, a hand-to-hand fight, that has never occurred to 
any extent during this prolonged conflict. Upon both 
sides men were killed with the butts of muskets. White 
and black men were lying side by side, pierced by bayo- 
nets, and in some instances transfixed to the earth. In 
one instance, two men — one white and the other black 
— were found dead, side by side, each having the other's 
bayonet through his body. If facts prove to be what 
they are now represented, this engagement of Sunday 
morning will be recorded as the most desperate of this 
war. Broken limbs, broken heads, the mangling of 
bodies, all prove that it was a contest between enraged 
men : on the one side, from hatred to a race ; and, on 
the other, desire for self-preservation, revenge for past 
grievances, and the inhuman murder of their comrades. 
One brave man took his former master prisoner, and 
brought him into camp with great gusto. A rebel pris- 
oner made a particular request, that his own negroes 
should not be placed over him as a guard." 

Capt. M. M. Miller, of Galena, 111., who commanded a 
company in the Ninth Louisiana (colored) Regiment, in 
a letter, gives the following account of the battle : — 

" We were attacked here on June 7, about three o'clock 



BATTLE OF MILLIKEN ? S BEND. 139 

in the morning, by a brigade of Texas troops, about two 
thousand five hundred in number. We had about six 
hundred men to withstand them, five hundred of them 
negroes. I commanded Company I, Ninth Louisiana. 
We went into the fight with thirty-three men. I had 
sixteen killed, eleven badly wounded, and four slightly. 
I was wounded slightly on the head, near the right eye, 
with a bayonet, and had a bayonet run through my right 
hand, near the forefinger ; that will account for this mis- 
erable style of penmanship. 

u Our regiment had about three hundred men in the 
fight. We had one colonel wounded, four captains 
wounded, two first and two second lieutenants killed, 
five lieutenants wounded, and three white orderlies 
killed, and one wounded in the hand, and two fingers 
taken off. The list of killed and wounded officers com- 
prised nearly all the officers present with the regiment, 
a majority of the rest being absent recruiting. 

" We had about fifty men killed in the regiment and 
eighty wounded ; so you can judge of what part of the 
fight my company sustained. I never felt more grieved 
and sick at heart, than when I saw how my brave sol- 
diers had been slaughtered, — one with six wounds, all 
the rest with two or three, none less than two wounds. 
Two of my colored sergeants were killed ; both brave, 
noble men, always prompt, vigilant, and ready for the 
fray. I never more wish to hear the expression, ' The 
niggers won't fight. 7 Come with me, a hundred yards 
from where I sit, and I can show you the wounds that 
cover the bodies of sixteen as brave, loyal, and patriotic 
soldiers as ever drew bead on a rebel. 

" The enemy charged us so close that we fought with 
our bayonets, hand to hand. I have six broken bayo- 



14:0 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

nets to show how bravely my men fought. The Twenty- 
third Iowa joined my company on the right ; and I 
declare truthfully that they had all fled before our regi- 
ment fell back, as we were all compelled to do. 

" Under command of Col. Page, I led the Ninth and 
Eleventh Louisiana when the rifle-pits were retaken and 
held by our troops, our two regiments doing the work. 

" I narrowly escaped death once. A rebel took delib- 
erate aim at me with both barrels of his gun ; and the 
bullets passed so close to me that the powder that re- 
mained on them burnt my cheek. Three of my men, 
who saw him aim and fire, thought that he wounded me 
each fire. One of them was killed by my side, and he 
fell on me, covering my clothes with his blood ; and, 
before the rebel could fire again, I blew his brains out 
with my gun. 

"It was a horrible fight, the worst I was ever engaged 
in, — not even excepting Shiloh. The enemy cried, 
1 No quarter ! 7 but some of them were very glad to 
take it when made prisoners. 

"Col. Allen, of the Sixteenth Texas, was killed in front 
of our regiment, and Brig.-Gen. Walker was wounded. 
We killed about one hundred and eighty of the enemy. 
The gunboat "Choctaw " did good service shelling them. 
I stood on the breastworks after w T e took them, and 
gave the elevations and direction for the gunboat by 
pointing my sword ; and they sent a shell right into 
their midst, which sent them in all directions. Three 
shells fell there, and sixty-two rebels lay there when the 
fight was over. 

" My wound is not serious but troublesome. What 
few men I have left seem to think much of me, because 
I stood up with them in the fight. I can say for them 



BATTLE OF MILLIKEN'S BEND. 141 

that I never saw a braver company of men in my 
life. 

"Not one of them offered to leave his place until 
ordered to fall back. I went down to the hospital, 
three miles, to-day to see the wounded. Nine of them 
were there, two having died of their wounds. A boy 
I had cooking for me came and begged a gun when the 
rebels were advancing, and took his place with the com- 
pany ; and, when we retook the breastworks, I found him 
badly wounded, with one gun-shot and two bayonet 
wounds. A new recruit I had issued a gun to the day 
before the fight was found dead, with a firm grasp on 
his gun, the bayonet of which was broken in three 
pieces. So they fought and died, defending the cause 
that we revere. They met death coolly, bravely : not 
rashly did they expose themselves, but all were steady 
and obedient to orders." 

This battle satisfied the slave-masters of the South 
that their charm was gone ; and that the negro, as a 
slave, was lost forever. Yet there was one fact con- 
nected with the battle of Milliken's Bend which will 
descend to posterity, as testimony against the human- 
ity of slave-holders ; and that is, that no negro was ever 
found alive that was taken a prisoner by the rebels in 
this fight. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

RAISING BLACK REGIMENTS AT THE NORTH. 

Prejudices at the North. — Black Laws of Illinois and Indiana. — Ill-treat- 
ment of Negroes. — The Blacks forget their Wrongs, and come to the 
Rescue. 

In the struggle between the Federal Government and 
the rebels, the colored men asked the question, " Why 
should we fight ? w The question was a legitimate one, 
at least for those residing in the Northern States, and 
especially in those States where there were any consid- 
erable number of colored people. In every State north 
of Mason and Dixon's Line, except Massachusetts and 
Rhode Island, which attempted to raise a regiment of 
colored men, the blacks are disfranchised, excluded 
from the jury-box, and in most of them from the public 
schools. The iron hand of prejudice in the Northern 
States is as circumscribing and unyielding upon him as 
the manacles that fettered the slave of the South. 

Now, these are facts, deny it who will. The negro 
has little to hope from Northern sympathy or legislation. 
Any attempt to engraft upon the organic law of the 
States provisions extending to the colored man political 
privileges is overwhelmingly defeated by the people. 
It makes no difference that here is a pen, and there a 
voice, raised in his behalf: the general verdict is against 
him; and its repetition in any case where it is demanded 
shows that it is inexorable. We talk a gre^t deal about 

142 



RAISING BLACK REGIMENTS AT THE NORTH. 143 

the vice of slavery, and the cruelty of denying to our 
fellownien their personal freedom and a due reward of 
labor ; but we are very careful not to concede the co- 
rollary, that the sin of withholding that freedom is not 
vastly greater than withholding the rights to which he 
who enjoys it is entitled. 

When the war broke out, it was the boast of the 
Administration that the status of the negro was not to 
be changed in the rebel States. President Lincoln, in 
his inaugural address, took particular pains to commit 
himself against any interference with the condition of 
the blacks. 

When the Rebellion commenced, and the call was made 
upon the country, the colored men were excluded. In 
some of the Western States into which slaves went 
when escaping from their rebel masters, in the first and 
second years of the war, the black-laws w T ere enforced 
to drive them out. Read what " The Daily Alton Dem- 
ocrat " said for Illinois, in the year 1862 : — 

" Notice to the * Free Negroes. 7 — I hereby give 
public notice to all free negroes who have arrived here 
from a foreign State within the past two months, or may 
hereafter come into the city of Alton with the intention 
of being residents thereof, that they are allowed the 
space of thirty days to remove ; and, upon failure to 
leave the city, will, after that period, be proceeded 
against by the undersigned, as by law directed. The 
penalty is a heavy fine, to liquidate which the law- 
officer is compelled to offer all free negroes arrested at 
public auction, unless the fine and all costs of suit are 
promptly paid. I hope the city authorities will be 
spared the necessity of putting the above law in exam- 



144 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

tion. AH railroad companies and steamboats are also 
forbidden to land free negroes within the city under the 
penalty of the law. No additional notice will be given. 
Suits will positively be instituted against all offenders. 

" JAMES W. DAVIS, 
" May 27, 1862." " Prosecuting Attorney Alton- City Court. 

The authorities of the State of Indiana also got on 
the track of the contrabands from the rebel States ; and 
the old black-laws were put forth as follows : — 

" Any person who shall employ a negro or mulatto 
who shall have come into the State of Indiana subse- 
quent to the thirty-first day of October, in the year one 
thousand eight hundred and fifty-one, or shall hereafter 
come into said State, or who shall encourage such negro 
or mulatto to remain in the State, shall be fined in any 
sum not less than ten dollars, nor more than five hun- 
dred dollars." 

The following will show how Illinois treated the col- 
ored people, even after the proclamation of freedom 
was put forth by President Lincoln. 

" The Whiteside (111.) Sentinel " says the following 
official notice is posted in the post-office and other public 
places in the city of Carthage, Hancock County, 111. 
It is a practical exemplication of the Illinois " black- 
laws." The notice reads as follows : — 

"Public Sale. — Whereas, The following negroes and 
one mulatto man were, on the fifth and sixth days of Feb- 
ruary, 1863, tried before the undersigned, a Justice of 
the Peace within and for Hancock County, 111., on a charge 
of high misdemeanor, having come into this State and 
county, and remaining therein for ten days and more, 



RAISING BLACK REGIMENTS AT THE NORTH. 145 

with the evident intention of residing in this State, and 
were found guilty by a jury, and were each severally 
fined in the sum of fifty dollars, and the judgment was 
rendered against said negroes and mulatto man for fifty 
dollars' fine each, and costs of suit, which fines and costs 
are annexed opposite to each name, to wit : — 



John, a negro man, tall and slim, about 
Sambo, a negro man, about . . . 
Austin, a negro man, heavy set, about 
Andrew, a negro man, about . . . 
Amos, a negro man, about • . . . 
Nelson, a mulatto man, about . . . 



Age. 


Fine. 


Costs. 


35 


$50 


$33.17 


21 


50 


32.17 


20 


50 


30.10 


— 


50 


30.33 


40 


50 


29.67 


55 


50 


30.07 



" And whereas. Said fines and costs have not been paid, 
notice is therefore given that the undersigned will, on 
Thursday, the nineteenth day of February, A.D. 1863, 
between the hours of one and five o'clock, p.m., of said 
day, at the west end of the Court House, in Carthage, 
Hancock County, 111., sell each of said negro men, John, 
Austin, Sambo, Andrew, Amos, and said mulatto man, 
Nelson, at public auction, to the person or persons who 
will pay the said fine and costs appended against each 
respectively for the shortest time of service of said 
negroes and mulatto. 

" The purchaser or purchasers will be entitled to the 
control and services of the negroes and mulatto pur- 
chased for the period named in the sale, and no longer, 
and will be required to furnish said negroes and mu- 
latto with comfortable food, clothing, and lodging during 
said servitude. The fees for selling will be added on 

completion of the sale. 

« c. M. CHILD, J.P. 
" Carthage, Feb. 9, 1863." 



146 T&E NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

It will be seen that these odious laws were rigidly 
enforced. With what grace could the authorities in 
those States ask the negro to fight? Yet they called 
upon him ; and he, forgetting the wrongs of the past, and 
demanding no pledge for better treatment, left family, 
home, and every thing dear, enlisted, and went forth to 
battle. And even Connecticut, with her proscription of 
the negro, called on him to fight. How humiliating it 
must have been ! And yet Connecticut, after appealing 
to black men, and receiving their aid in fighting her 
battles, retains her negro " black-laws " upon her statute- 
book by a vote of more than six thousand. 



CHAPTER XX. 

FIFTY-FOURTH MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENT. 

Its Organization. — Its Appearance. — Col. Shaw. — Presentation of Col- 
ors. — Its Dress-Parade. — Its Departure from Boston. 

The Fifty-fourth Regiment of Massachusetts Volun- 
teer Infantry was called into the service of the United 
States by the President, under an act of Congress, 
passed July 21, 1861, entitled "An Act to authorize the 
Employment of Volunteers to aid in enforcing the Laws 
and protecting Public Property." Recruiting began 
Feb. 9, 1863, in Boston. A camp of rendezvous waa 
opened at " Camp Meigs/ 7 Readville, Mass., on the 21st 
of February, with a squad of twenty-seven men ; and, 
by the end of March, five companies were recruited, 
comprising four hundred and fourteen men. This num- 
ber was doubled during April; and, on the 12th of May, 
the regiment was full. 

Orders being received for it to proceed to the De- 
partment of the South, the regiment broke camp on the 
28th of May, and took cars for Boston. After passing 
through the principal streets, and reaching the Common, 
they prepared to receive the colors which were to be 
presented by the Governor. 

The regiment was formed in a hollow square, the dis- 
tinguished persons present occupying the centre. The 
flags were four in number, comprising a national flag, 

147 



148 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

presented by young colored ladies of Boston ; a na- 
tional ensign, presented by the " Colored Ladies' Relief 
Society ; " an emblematic banner, presented by ladies 
and gentlemen of Boston, friends of the regiment; and 
a flag presented by relatives and friends of the late 
Lieut. Putnam. The emblematic banner was of white 
silk, handsomely embroidered, having on one side a fig- 
ure of the Goddess of Justice, with the words, "Liberty, 
Loyalty, and Unity," around it. The fourth flag bore a 
cross with a blue field, surmounted with the motto, " In 
hoc signo vinces." All were of the finest texture and 
workmanship. 

Prayer having been offered by the Rev. Mr. Grimes, 
Gov. Andrew presented the various flags, with the fol- 
lowing speech : — 

PRESENTATION SPEECH OF GOV. ANDREW. 

" Col. Shaw, — As the official representative of the 
Commonwealth, and by favor of various ladies and gen- 
tlemen, citizens of the Commonwealth, and friends of the 
Fifty-fourth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers, I 
have the honor and the satisfaction of being permitted 
to join you this morning for the purpose of presenting 
to your regiment the national flag, the State colors of 
Massachusetts, and the emblematic banner which the 
cordial, generous, and patriotic friendship of its pa- 
trons has seen fit to present to you. 

" Two years of experience in all the trials and vicissi- 
tudes of war, attended with the repeated exhibition of 
Massachusetts regiments marching from home to the 
scenes of strife, have left little to be said or suggested 
which could give the interest of novelty to an occasion 



FIFTY-FOURTH MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENT. 149 

like this. But, Mr. Commander, one circumstance per- 
taining to the composition of the Fifty-fourth Regiment, 
exceptional in its character when compared with any 
thing we have seen before, gives to this hour an in- 
terest and importance, solemn and yet grand, because the 
occasion marks an era in the history of the war, of the 
Commonwealth, of the country, and of humanity. I 
need not dwell upon the fact that the enlisted men con- 
stituting the rank and file of the Fifty-fourth Regiment 
of Massachusetts Volunteers are drawn from a race not 
hitherto connected with the fortunes of the war. And 
yet I cannot forbear to allude to the circumstance, be- 
cause I can but contemplate it for a brief moment, since 
it is uppermost in your thoughts, and since this regiment, 
which for many months has been the desire of my own 
heart, is present now before this vast assembly of 
friendly citizens of Massachusetts, prepared to vindicate 
by its future, as it has already begun to do by its brief 
history of camp-life here, to vindicate in its own person 
and in the presence, I trust, of all who belong to it, the 
character, the manly character, the zeal, the manly zeal, 
of the colored citizens of Massachusetts and of those 
other States which have cast their lot with ours. (Ap- 
plause.) 

" I owe to you, Mr. Commander, and to the officers who, 
associated with you, have assisted in the formation of 
this noble corps, composed of men selected from among 
their fellows for fine qualities of manhood, — I owe to you, 
sir, and to those of your associates who united with me 
in the original organization of this body, the heartiest and 
most emphatic expression of my cordial thanks. I shall 
follow you, Mr. Commander, your officers, and your men, 
with a friendly and personal solicitude, to say nothing of 



150 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

official care, which can hardly be said of any other corps 
which has marched from Massachusetts. My own per- 
sonal honor, if I have any, is identified with yours. I 
stand or fall, as a man and a magistrate, with the rise or 
fall in the history of the Fifty -fourth Massachusetts Regi- 
ment. (Applause.) I pledge not only in behalf of my- 
self, but of all those whom I have the honor to represent 
to-day, the utmost generosity, the utmost kindness, the 
utmost devotion of hearty love, not only for the cause, 
but for you that represent it. We will follow your for- 
tunes in the camp and in the field with the anxious eyes 
of brethren and the proud hearts of citizens. 

" To those men of Massachusetts, and of surrounding 
States who have now made themselves citizens of Mas- 
sachusetts, I have no word to utter fit to express the 
emotions of my heart. These men, sir, have now, in 
the Providence of God, given to them an opportunity 
which, while it is personal to themselves, is still an op- 
portunity for a whole race of men. (Applause.) With 
arms possessed of might to strike a blow, they have 
found breathed into their hearts an inspiration of de- 
voted patriotism, and regard for their brethren of their 
own color, which has inspired them with a purpose to 
nerve that arm, that it may strike a blow which, while it 
shall help to raise aloft their country's flag — their coun- 
try's flag now as well as ours — by striking down the 
foes which oppose it, strikes also the last blow, I trust, 
needful to rend the last shackle which binds the limb of 
the bondman in the rebel States. (Applause.) 

:i I know not, Mr. Commander, when, in all human his- 
tory, to any given thousand men in arms there has been 
given a work so proud, so precious, so full of hope and 
glory, as the work committed to you. (Applause.) And 



FIFTY-FOURTH MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENT. 151 

may the infinite mercy of Almighty God attend you 
every hour of every day, through all the experiences 
and vicissitudes of that dangerous life in which you have 
embarked ! may the God of our fathers cover your heads 
in the day of battle ! may he shield you with the arms 
of everlasting power ! may he hold you always most of 
all, first of all, and last of all, up to the highest and holi- 
est conception of duty ; so that if, on the field of stricken 
fight, your souls shall be delivered from the thraldom of 
the flesh, your spirits shall go home to God, bearing aloft 
the exulting thought of duty well performed, of glory 
and reward won even at the hands of the angels who 
shall watch over you from above ! 

" Mr. Commander, you, sir, and most of your officers, 
have been carefully selected from among the most intel- 
ligent and experienced officers who have already per- 
formed illustrious service upon the field during the last 
two years of our national conflict. I need not say, sir, 
with how much confidence and with how much pride we 
contemplate the leadership which we know this regiment 
will receive at your hands. In yourself, sir, your staff 
and line officers, we are enabled to declare a confidence 
which knows no hesitation and no doubt. Whatever 
fortune may betide you, we know from the past that all 
will be done for the honor of the cause, for the protection 
of the flag, for the defence of the right, for the glory of 
your country, and for the safety and the honor of these 
men whom we commit to you, that shall lie either in the 
human heart or brain or arm. (Applause.) 

" And now, Mr. Commander, it is my most agreeable 
duty and high honor to hand to you, as the representa 
tive of the Fifty-fourth Regiment of Massachusetts Vol- 
unteers, the American flag, the star-spangled banner 



152 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

of the Republic. Wherever its folds shall be unfurled, 
it will mark the path of glory. Let its stars be the inspi- 
ration of yourselves, your officers, and your men. As 
the gift of the young ladies of the city of Boston to their 
brethren in arms, they will cherish it as the lover cher- 
ishes the recollection and fondness of his mistress ; and 
the white stripes of its field will be red with their blood 
before it shall be surrendered to the foe. (Applause.) 

"I have also the honor, Mr. Commander, to present to 
you the State colors of Massachusetts, — the State 
colors of the old Bay State, borne already by fifty-three 
regiments -of Massachusetts soldiers, white men thus far, 
now to be borne by the Fifty-fourth Regiment of soldiers, 
not less of Massachusetts than the others. Whatever 
may be said, Mr. Commander, of any other flag which has 
ever kissed the sunlight, or been borne on any field, I 
have the pride and honor to be able to declare before 
you, your regiment, and these witnesses, that, from the 
beginning up till now, the State colors of Massachusetts 
have never been surrendered to any foe. (Cheers.) 
The Fifty-fourth now holds in possession this sacred 
charge in the performance of their duties as citizen-sol- 
diers. You will never part with that flag so long as a 
splinter of the staff, or a thread of its web, remains with- 
in your grasp. (Applause.) The State colors are pre- 
sented to the Fifty-fourth by the Relief Society, com- 
posed of colored ladies of Boston. 

" And now let me commit to you this splendid emble- 
matic banner. It is prepared for your acceptance by a 
large and patriotic committee, representing many others 
beside ladies and gentlemen of Boston, to whose hearty 
sympathy, and powerful co-operation and aid, much of the 
success which has hitherto attended the organization of 



FIFTY-FOURTH MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENT. 153 

this regiment is due. The Goddess of Liberty, erect in 
beautiful guise and form (liberty, loyalty, and unity are 
the emblems it bears), — the Goddess of Liberty shall be 
the lady-love whose fair presence shall inspire your 
hearts ; liberty, loyalty, unity, the watchwords in the 
fight. 

" And now, Mr. Commander, the sacred, holy cross, rep- 
resenting passion, the highest heroism, I scarcely dare 
to trust myself to present to you. It is the emblem of 
Christianity. I have parted with the emblems of the 
State, of the nation, — heroic, patriotic emblems they are, 
dear, inexpressibly dear, to all our hearts ; but now, 
In hoc signo vinces, the cross which represents the 
passion of our Lord, I dare to pass into your soldier 
hands ; for we are fighting now a battle not merely for 
country, not merely for humanity, not only for civiliza- 
tion, but for the religion of our Lord itself. When this 
cause shall ultimately fall, if ever failure at the last shall 
be possible, it will only fail when the last patriot, the 
last philanthropist, and the last Christian shall have tasted 
death, and left no descendants behind them upon the 
soil of Massachusetts. (Applause.) 

" This flag, Mr. Commander, has connected with its his- 
tory the most touching and sacred memory. It comes to 
your regiment from the mother, sister, friends, family 
relatives, of one of the dearest and noblest soldier-boys 
of Massachusetts. I need not utter the name of Lieut. 
Putnam in order to excite in every heart the tenderest 
emotions of foncl regard, or the strongest feeling of pa- 
triotic fire. May you, sir, and these, follow not only on 
the field of battle, but in all the walks and ways of life, 
in camp, and hereafter, when, on returning peace, you 
shall resume the more quiet and peaceful duties of citi- 



154 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

zens, — may you but follow the splendid example, the 
sweet devotion mingled with manly, heroic character, of 
which the life, character, and death of Lieut. Putnam 
was one example ! How many more there are we know 
not : the record is not yet complete ; but, oh ! how many 
there are of these Massachusetts sons, who, like him, 
have tasted death for this immortal cause ! Inspired by 
such examples, fired by the heat and light of love and 
faith which illumined and warmed these heroic and noble 
hearts, may you, sir, and these, march on to glory, to 
victory, and to every honor ! This flag I present to you, 
Mr. Commander, and your regiment. In hoc signo vinces. 

RESPONSE OF COL. SHAW. 

" Your Excellency, — We accept these flags with feel- 
ings of deep gratitude. They will remind us not only of 
the cause we are fighting for, and of our country, but of 
the friends we have left behind us, who have thus far 
taken so much interest in this regiment, and who, we 
know, will follow us in our career. Though the greater 
number of men in this regiment are not Massachusetts 
men, I know there is not one who will not be proud to 
fight and serve under our flag. May we have an oppor- 
tunity to show that you have not made a mistake in in- 
trusting the honor of the State to a colored regiment ! 
— the first State that has sent one to the war. 

" I am very glad to have this opportunity to thank the 
officers and men of the regiment for their untiring fidel- 
ity and devotion to their work from the very beginning. 
They have shown that sense of the importance of our 
undertaking, without which we should hardly have at- 
tained our end. (Applause,) 



FIFTY-FOURTH MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENT. 155 

At the conclusion of Col. Shaw's remarks, the colors 
were borne to their place in the line by the guard, and 
the regiment was reviewed by the Governor. Thence 
they marched out of the Common, down Tremont Street, 
down Court Street, by the Court House, chained hardly 
a decade ago to save slavery and the Union. Thence 
down State Street, trampling on the very pavement over 
which Sims and Burns marched to their fate, encompassed 
by soldiers of the United States. 

" Their sisters, sweethearts, and wives " — a familiar 
quotation in the notices of previous departing regiments, 
but looking a little odd in this new place — ran along 
beside " the boys," giving their parting benediction of 
smiles and tears, telling them to be brave, and to show 
their blood. 

They marched in good time, and wheeled with a readi- 
ness which showed that they had a clear idea of what 
was required, and only needed a little more practice to 
equal the best regiments that left the State. 

The regiment marched down State Street at a quarter 
past twelve o'clock to the tune of " John Brown," and 
was vociferously cheered by the vast crowds that cov- 
ered the sidewalks and filled the windows. Nowhere 
was the reception of the regiment more hearty. 

All attempts to express the feeling of the crowd or the 
soldiers seem to read stale and flat. Yet, as Goldsmith 
said that the weakest jokes were received as wit by the 
circle of the happy vicar, so these attempts were treated 
as successes by the happy crowd. One man said it was 
a verification of Shakspeare : — 

" Know you not Pompey f 
You have climbed up to the walls and battlements 
To see Great Pompey pass the streets of Rome." 



156 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

One fact should be chronicled. Their regimental ban- 
ner, of superb white silk, had on one side the coat-of- 
arms of Massachusetts, and on the other a golden cross 
on a golden star, with In hoc Signo Vinces beneath. 
This is the first Christian banner that has gone into our 
war. By a strange, and yet not strange, providence, 
God has made this despised race the bearers of his stand- 
ard. They are thus the real leaders of the nation. 

On reaching the wharf at a quarter before one, every 
thing had been placed on board through the efforts of 
Capt. McKim; the guns were placed in boxes, the horses 
put aboard, and the men began to embark. At four 
o'clock, the vessel steamed down the harbor, bound for 
Port Royal, S.C. 

THE COMPLETE ROSTER OF THE REGIMENT. 

Colonel. — Robert G-. Shaw. 

Lieut- Colonel. — Norwood P. Hallo well. 

Major. — Edward N. Hallowell. 

Surgeon. — Lincoln R. Stone. 

Assistant Surgeon. — C. B. Brigham. 

Captains. — Alfred S. Hartwell, David A. Partridge, 
Samuel Willard, John W. M. Appletoh, Watson W. 
Bridge, George Pope, William H. Simpkins, Cabot J. 
Russell, Edward L. Jones, and Louis F. Emilo. 

1st. Lieutenants. — John Ritchie, Garth W. James, 
William H. Hemans, Orin E. Smith, Erik Wulff, Walter 
H. Wild, Francis L. Higginson, James M. Walton, James 
M. Grace, R. K. L. Jewett. 

2d Lieutenants. — Thomas L. Appleton, Benjamin F. 
Dexter, J. Albert Pratt, Charles F. Smith, Henry W. 
Littlefield, William Nutt, David Reid, Charles E. Tucker, 
and William Howard. 



FIFTY-FOURTH MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENT. 157 

Many of the men in the Fifty-Fourth had once been 
slaves at the South ; some had enjoyed freedom for 
years ; others had escaped after the breaking out of the 
Rebellion. Most of them had relatives still there, and 
had a double object in joining the regiment. They were 
willing to risk their lives for the freedom of those left 
behind ; and, if they failed in that, they might, at least, 
have an opportunity of settling with the " ole boss" for 
a long score of cruelty. 

" From many a Southern field they trembling came, 
Fled from the lash, the fetter, and the chain ; 
Return they now, not at base Slavery's claim, 
To meet the oppressor on the battle-plain." 

" The following song was written by a private in Com- 
pany A, Fifty-Fourth (colored) Regiment, Massachusetts 
Volunteers, and has been sent to us for publication by 
a friend of the regiment." — Boston Transcript 

" Air. — ' Hoist up the Flag.' 

" Fremont told them, when the war it first begun, 
How to save the Union, and the way it should be done ; 
But Kentucky swore so hard, and old Abe he had his fears, 
Till every hope was lost but the colored volunteers. 

Chorus. — Oh ! give us a flag all free without a slave, 
We'll fight to defend it as our fathers did so brave : 
The gallant Company A will make the rebels dance ; 
And we'll stand by the Union, if we only have a chance. 

McClellan went to Richmond with two hundred thousand brave : 
He said, ' keep back the niggers/ and the Union he would save. 
Little Mac he had his way, still the Union is in tears : 
Now they call for the help of the colored volunteers. 
Chor. — Oh ! give us a flag, &c. 



158 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

Old Jeff says he'll hang us if we dare to meet him armed : 
A very big thing, but we are not at all alarmed ; 
For he first has got to catch us before the way is clear, 
And ' that's what's the matter ' with the colored volunteer. 
Chor. — Oh ! give us a flag, &c. 

So rally, boys, rally, let us never mind the past : 
We had a hard road to travel, but our day is coming fast; 
For God is for the right, and we have no need to fear : 
The Union must be saved by the colored volunteer. 
Chor. — Oh ! give us a flag, &c." 



CHAPTER XXL 

BLACKS UNDER FIRE IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 

Expedition up the St. Mary's River. — The Negroes Long for a Fight. — 
Their Gallantry in Battle. 

The Department of the South, under Major-Gen. 
Hunter, was the first in which the negro held the mus- 
ket. By consent of the commanding-general, I give the 
following interesting report from Col. T. W. Higgin- 
son : — 

" On Board Steamer ' Ben Deford,' 

Sunday, Feb. 1, 1863. 

li Brig. -Gen. Saxton, Military Governor, fyc. 

" General, — I have the honor to report the safe re- 
turn of the expedition under my command, consisting 
of four hundred and sixty-two officers and men of the 
First Regiment of South-Carolina Volunteers, who left 
Beaufort on Jan. 23, on board the steamers ' John 
Adams/ l Planter/ and c Ben Deford. ? 

" The expedition has carried the regimental flag and 
the President's proclamation far into the interior of 
Georgia and Florida. The men have been repeatedly 
under fire ; have had infantry, cavalry, and even artil- 
lery, arrayed against them ; and have, in every instance, 
come off, not only with unblemished honor, but with un- 
disputed triumph. At Township, Fla., a detachment of 
the expedition fought a cavalry company which met 

159 



160 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

a 

us unexpectedly, on a midnight march through pine 
woods, and which completely surrounded us. They 
were beaten off with a loss on our part of one man 
killed and seven wounded; while the* opposing party 
admits twelve men killed (including Lieut. Jones, in 
command of the company), besides many wounded. So 
complete was our victory, that the enemy scattered, hid 
in the woods all night, not returning to his camp, which 
was five miles distant, until noon next day ; a fact which 
was unfortunately unknown until too late to follow up 
our advantage. Had I listened to the urgent appeals 
of my men, and pressed the flying enemy, we could 
have destroyed his camp ; but, in view of the darkness, 
his uncertain numbers and swifter motions, with your 
injunctions of caution, I judged it better to rest satisfied 
with the victory already gained. 

u On another occasion, a detachment of about two 
hundred and fifty men, on board the 'John Adams/ 
fought its way forty miles up and down a river, the 
most dangerous in the department, — the St. Mary's ; a 
river left untraversed by our gunboats for many months, 
as it required a boat built like the ' John Adams ' to as- 
cend it successfully. The stream is narrow, swift, 
winding, and bordered at many places with high bluffs, 
which blazed with rifle-shots. With our glasses, as we 
approached these points, we could see mounted men by 
the hundreds galloping through the woods, from point 
to point, to await us ; and, though fearful of our shot 
and shell, they were so daring against musketry, that 
one rebel actually sprang from the shore upon the large 
boat which was towed at our stern, where he was shot 
down by one of my sergeants. We could see. our shell 
scatter the rebels as they fell among them, and some 



BLACKS UNDER FIRE IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 161 

terrible execution must have been done ; but not a man 
of this regiment was killed or wounded, though the 
steamer is covered with bullet-marks, one of which 
shows where our brave Capt. Olifton, commander of the 
vessel, fell dead beside his own pilot-house, shot through 
the brain by a Minie-ball. Major Strong, who stood be- 
side him, escaped as if by magic, both of them being un- 
necessarily exposed without my knowledge. The se- 
cret of our safety was in keeping the regiment below, 
except the gunners ; but this required the utmost en- 
ergy of the officers, as the men were wild to come on 
deck, and even implored to be landed on shore, and 
charge on the enemy. Nobody knows any thing about 
these men who has not seen them in battle. I find that 
I myself knew nothing. There is a fiery energy about 
them beyond any thing of which I have ever read, un- 
less it be the French Zouaves. It requires the strictest 
discipline to hold them in hand. During our first at- 
tack on the river; before I got them all penned below, 
they crowded at the open ends of the steamer, loading 
and firing with inconceivable rapidity, and shouting to 
each other, l Never give it up ! J When collected into 
the hold, they actually fought each other for places at 
the few port-holes from which they could fire on the 
enemy. 

" Meanwhile, the black gunners, admirably trained by 
Lieuts. Stockdale and O'Neil (both being accomplished 
artillerists), and Mr. Heron, of the gunboat, did their 
duty without the slightest protection, and with great 
coolness, amid a storm of shot. 

" No officer in this regiment now doubts that the key 
to the successful prosecution of this war lies in the un- 
limited employment of black troops. Their superiority 
11 



162 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

lies simply iii the fact that they know the country, 
which white troops do not; and, moreover, that they 
have peculiarities of temperament, position, and motive, 
which belong to them alone. Instead of leaving their 
homes and families to fight, they are fighting for their 
homes and families ; and they show the resolution and 
sagacity which a personal purpose gives. It would 
have been madness to attempt with the bravest white 
troops what I have successfully accomplished with 
black ones. 

" Every thing, even to the piloting of the vessel, and 
the selection of the proper points for cannonading, was 
done by my own soldiers ; indeed, the real conductor of 
the whole expedition at the St. Mary's was Corporal 
Robert Sutton, of Company Gr, formerly a slave upon 
the St. Mary's River ; a man of extraordinary qualities, 
who needs nothing but a knowledge of the alphabet to 
entitle him to the most signal promotion. In every 
instance where I followed his advice, the predicted 
result followed ; and I never departed from it, however 
slightly, without having reason for subsequent regret. 
u I have the honor to be, &c, 

" T. W. HIGGINSON, 
"Col. Com. First Regiment South- Carolina Vols," 



CHAPTER XXII. 

PREEDMEN UNDER FIRE IN MISSISSIPPI. 

Bravery of the Freedmen. — Desperation of the Rebels. — Severe Battle. 

Negroes Triumphant. 

While the people along the banks of the Mississippi, 
above New Orleans, were discussing the question as to 
whether the negro would fight, if attacked by white 
men, or not. Col. Daniels, of the Second Regiment Louisi- 
ana Volunteers, gave one side of the subject considera- 
ble of a "hist," on the 9th of April, 1863. His official 
report will speak for itself. 

" Headquarters, Ship Island (Miss.), 
April 11, 1863. 

" Brig. -Gen. Sherman, commanding Defences of New Orleans. 

" Sir, — In compliance with instructions from your 
headquarters, to keep you promptly informed of any 
movements that the enemy might be known to be 
making up the Mississippi Sound, upon learning that 
repeated demonstrations had been made in the direc- 
tion of Pascagoula, by Confederate troops ashore, and in 
armed boats along the coast ; and, furthermore, having 
reliable information that the greater part of the forces 
at Mobile were being sent to re-enforce Charleston, I de- 
termined to make a reconnoissance within the enemy's 
lines, at or near Pascagoula, for the purpose of not only 
breaking up their demonstrations, but of creating a di- 

163 



164 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

version of the Mobile forces from Charleston, and pre- 
cipitating them along the Sound; and accordingly em- 
barked with a detachment of a hundred and eighty 
men of my command on United-States Transport i Gen- 
eral Banks,' on the morning of the 9th of April, 1863,. and 
made for Pascagoula, Miss., where we arrived about 
nine o'clock, a.m., landed, and took possession of wharf 
and hotel, hoisted the stars and stripes upon the build- 
ing, threw out pickets, and sent small detachments in 
various directions to take possession of the place, and 
hold the roads leading from the same. Immediately 
thereafter, a force of over three hundred Confederate 
cavalry came down the Mobile Road, drove in the pick- 
ets, and attacked the squad on the left, from whom they 
received a warm reception. They then fell back in 
some confusion, re-formed, and made a dash upon the 
detachment stationed at the hotel, at which point they 
were again repulsed ; Confederate infantry, meanwhile, 
attacking my forces on the extreme left, and forcing a 
small detachment to occupy a wharf, from which they 
poured volley after volley into the enemy's ranks, kill- 
ing and wounding many, with a loss of one man only. 
The fight had now extended along the road from the 
river to the wharf, the enemy being under cover of the 
houses and forest; whilst my troops were, from the na- 
ture of the ground, unavoidably exposed. The Confed- 
erates had placed their women and children in front of 
their houses, for a cover, and even armed their citi- 
zens, and forced them to fight against us. After an 
hour's continuous skirmishing, the enemy retreated to 
the woods, and my forces fell back to the hotel and 
wharf. Then the enemy sallied forth again, with appar- 
ently increased numbers, attempting to surround the 



FREEDMEN UNDER FIRE IN MISSISSIPPI. 185 

hotel, and obtain possession of the wharf; but. they 
were again repulsed, and driven back to their cover, — 
the forest. It was here that Lieut. Jones, with a de- 
tachment of only seven men, having been placed on the 
extreme right, cut his way through a large force of the 
enemy's cavalry, and arrived at the hotel without losing 
a man, but killing and wounding a considerable number 
of the enemy. 

" After continuous fighting, from ten o'clock, a.m., to 
two o'clock, p.m., and on learning that heavy re-enforce- 
ments of infantry and artillery had arrived from the 
camps up the Pascagoula River, I withdrew my forces 
from the hotel, and returned to Ship Island. The ene- 
my's loss was over twenty killed, and a large number 
wounded. From my own knowledge, and from infor- 
mation derived from prisoners taken in the fight, and 
from refugees since arrived, the enemy had over four 
hundred cavalry and infantry at Pascagoula, and heavy 
re-enforcements within six miles of the place. Refugees 
who have arrived since the engagement report the ene- 
emy's loss as greater than mentioned in my first re- 
port. 

" The expedition was a perfect success, accomplish- 
ing all that was intended ; resulting in the repulse of 
the enemy in every engagement with great loss ; whilst 
our casualty was only two' killed and eight wounded. 
Great credit is due to the troops engaged, for their un- 
flinching bravery and steadiness under this their first 
fire, exchanging volley after volley with the coolness of 
veterans ; and for their determined tenacitv in maintain- 

7 %/ 

ing their position, and taking advantage of every suc- 
cess that their courage and valor gave them ; and also 
to their officers, who were cool and determined through- 



166 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

out the action, fighting their commands against five 
times their numbers, and confident throughout of suc- 
cess, — all demonstrating to its fullest extent that the 
oppression which they have heretofore undergone from 
the hands of their foes, and the obloquy that had been 
showered upon them by those who should have been 
friends, had not extinguished their manhood, or sup- 
pressed their bravery, and that they had still a hand to 
wield the sword, and a heart to vitalize its blow. 

" I would particularly call the attention of the Depart- 
ment to Major F. E. Dumas, Capt. Villeverd, and Lieuts. 
Jones and Martin, who were constantly in the thickest 
of the fight, and by their unflinching bravery, and admi- 
rable handling of their commands, contributed to the 
success of the attack, and reflected great honor upon 
the flag under and for which they so nobly struggled. 
Repeated instances of individual bravery among the 
troops might be mentioned ; but it would be invidious 
where all fought so manfully and so well. 

" I have the honor to be, most respectfully, 

u Your obedient servant, 

"N. U. DANIELS, 
" Col. Second Regiment La. N. 0. Vols., Commanding Post." 



CHAPTER XXIII. 



BATTLE OF PORT HUDSON. 



The Louisiana Native Guard. — Capt. Callioux. — The Weather. — 
Spirit of the Troops. — The Battle begins. — " Charge." — Great 
Bravery. — The Gallant Color-bearer. — Grape, Canister, and Shell 
sweep down the Heroic Men. — Death of Callioux. — Comments. 

On the 26th of May, 1863, the wing of the army un- 
der Major-Gen. Banks was brought before the rifle-pits 
and heavy guns of Port Hudson. Night fell — the 
lovely Southern night — with its silvery moonshine on 
the gleaming waters of the Mississippi, that passed di- 
rectly by the intrenched town. The glistening stars 
appeared suspended in the upper air as globes of liquid 
light, while the fresh soft breeze was bearing such sweet 
scents from the odoriferous trees and plants, that a poet 
might have fancied angelic spirits were abroad, making 
the atmosphere luminous with their pure presence, and 
every breeze fragrant with their luscious breath. The 
deep-red sun that rose on the next morning indicated 
that the day would be warm ; and, as it advanced, the 
heat became intense. The earth had been long parched, 
and the hitherto green verdure had begun to turn yel- 
low. Clouds of dust followed every step and move- 
ment of the troops. The air was filled with dust : 
clouds gathered, frowned upon the earth, and hastened 
away. 

The weatherwise watched the red masses of the 
morning, and still hoped for a shower to cool the air, and 

167 



168 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

lay the dust, before the work of death commenced ; but 
none came, and the very atmosphere seemed as if it 
were from an overheated oven. The laying-aside of all 
unnecessary articles or accoutrements, and the prepa- 
ration that showed itself on every side, told all present 
that the conflict was near at hand. Gen. Dwight, 
whose antecedents with regard to the rights of the 
negro, and his ability to fight, were not of the most 
favorable character, was the officer in command over the 
colored brigade ; and busy Rumor, that knows every 
thing, had whispered it about that the valor of the 
black man was to be put to the severest test that day. 

The black forces consisted of the First Louisiana, 
under Lieut-Col. Bassett, and the Third Louisiana, un- 
der Col. Nelson. The line-officers of the Third were 
white ; and the regiment was composed mostly of freed- 
men, many of whose backs still bore the marks of the 
lash, and whose brave, stout hearts beat high at the 
thought that the hour had come when they were to 
meet their proud and unfeeling oppressors. The First 
was the noted regiment called " The Native Guard/' 
which Gen. Butler found when he entered New Or- 
leans, and which so promptly offered its services to aid 
in crushing the Rebellion. The line-officers of this regi- 
ment were all colored, taken from amongst the most 
wealthy and influential of the free colored people of 
New Orleans. It was said that not one of them was worth 
less than twenty-five thousand dollars. The brave, the 
enthusiastic, and the patriotic, found full scope for the 
development of their powers in this regiment, of which 
all were well educated ; some were fine scholars. One 
of the most efficient officers was Capt. Andre Callioux, 
a man whose identity with his race could not be mista- 



BATTLE OF PORT HUDSON. 169 

ken ; for he prided himself on being the blackest man in 
the Crescent City. Whether in the drawing-room or on 
the parade, he was ever the centre of attraction. Finely 
educated, polished in his manners, a splendid horseman, 
a good boxer, bold, athletic, and daring, he never lacked 
admirers. His men were ready at any time to follow 
him to the cannon's mouth ; and he was as ready to lead 
them. This regiment petitioned their commander to 
allow them to occupy the post of danger in the battle, 
and it was granted. 

As the moment of attack drew near, the greatest sup- 
pressed excitement existed ; but all were eager for the 
fight. Capt. Callioux walked proudly up and down the 
line, and smilingly greeted the familiar faces of his com- 
pany. Officers and privates of the white regiments 
looked on as they saw these men at the front, and asked 
each other what they thought would be the result. 
Would these blacks stand fire? Was not the test by 
which they were to be tried too severe ? Col. Nelson 
being called to act as brigadier-general, Lieut-Col. Fin- 
negas took his place. The enemy in his stronghold felt 
his power, and bade defiance to the expected attack. 
At last the welcome word was given, and our men 
started. The enemy opened a blistering fire of shell, 
canister, grape, and musketry. The first shell thrown 
by the enemy killed and wounded a number of the 
blacks ;-but on they went. " Charge " was the word. 

" Charge ! " Trump and drum awoke : 
Onward the bondmen broke ; 
Bayonet and sabre-stroke 
Vainly opposed their rush." 

At every pace, the column was thinned by the falling 



170 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

dead and wounded. The blacks closed tip steadily as 
their comrades fell, and advanced with ; n fifty paces of 
where the rebels were working a masked battery, situ- 
ated on a bluff where the guns could sweep the whole 
field over which the troops must charge. This battery 
was on the left of the charging line. Another battery 
of three or four guns commanded the front, and six 
heavy pieces raked the right of the line as it formed, 
and enfiladed its flank and rear as it charged on the 
bluff. It was ascertained that a bayou ran under the 
bluff where the guns lay, — a bayou deeper than a man 
could ford. This charge was repulsed with severe loss. 
Lieut-Col. Finnegas was then ordered to charge, and in 
a well-dressed steady line his men went on the double- 
quick down over the field of death. No matter how 
gallantly the men behaved, no matter how bravely 
they were led, it was not in the course of things that 
this gallant brigade should take these works by charge. 
Yet charge after charge was ordered and carried out 
under all these disasters with Spartan firmness. Six 
charges in all were made. Col. Nelson reported to Gen. 
Dwight the fearful odds he had to contend with. Says 
Gen. Dwight, in reply, " Tell Col. Nelson I shall consider 
that he has accomplished nothing unless he take those 
guns." Humanity will never forgive Geri. Dwight for 
this last order ; for he certainly saw that he was only 
throwing away the lives of his men. But what were 
his men? " Only niggers." Thus the last charge was 
made under the spur of desperation. 

The ground was already strewn with the dead and 
wounded, and many of the brave officers had fallen 
early in the engagement. Among them was the gallant 
and highly cultivated Anselmo. He was a standard- 



BATTLE OF PORT HUDSON. 171 

bearer, and hugged the stars and stripes to his heart as 
he fell forward upon them pierced by five balls. Two 
corporals near by struggled between themselves as to 
who should have the honor of again raising those blood- 
stained emblems to the breeze. Each was eager for the 
honor; and during the struggle a missile from the enemy 
wounded one of them, and the other corporal shouldered 
the dear old flag in triumph, and bore it through the 
charge in the front of the advancing lines. 

" Now/ 5 the flag-sergeant cried, 
'* Though death and hell betide, 

Let the whole nation see 

If we are fit to be 

Free in this land, or bound 

Down, like the whining hound, — 

Bound with red stripes and pain 

In our old chains again." 

Oh ! what a shout there went 

From the black regiment ! 

Shells from the rebel guns cut down trees three feet 
in diameter, and they fell, at one time burying a whole 
company beneath their branches. Thus they charged 
bravely on certain destruction, till the ground was slip- 
pery with the gore of the slaughtered, and cumbered 
with the bodies of the maimed. The last charge was 
made about one o'clock. At this juncture, Capt. Callioux 
was seen with his left arm dangling by his side, — for a 
oall had broken it above the elbow, — while his right 
hand held his unsheathed sword gleaming in the rays of 
the sun ; and his hoarse, faint voice was heard cheering 
on his men. A moment more, and the brave and gener- 
ous Callioux was struck by a shell, and fell far in ad- 
vance of his company. The fall of this officer so exas- 



172 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

perated his men, that they appeared to be filled with 
new enthusiasm ; and they rushed forward with a reck- 
lessness that probably has never been surpassed. Seeing 
it to be a hopeless effort, the taking of these batteries, 
order was given to change the programme ; and the 
troops were called off. But had they accomplished any 
thing more than the loss of many of their brave men ? 
Yes : they had. The self-forgetfulness, the undaunted 
heroism, and the great endurance of the negro, as ex- 
hibited that day, created a new chapter in American 
history for the colored man. 

Many Persians were slain at the battle of Thermopylae ; 
but history records only the fall of Leonidas and his four 
hundred companions. So in the future, when we shall 
have passed away from the stage, and rising generations 
shall speak of the conflict at Port Hudson, and the cele- 
brated charge of the negro brigade, they will forget all 
others in their admiration for Andre Callioux and his 
colored associates. Gen. Banks, in his report of the bat- 
tle of Port Hudson, says, " Whatever doubt may have 
existed heretofore as to the efficiency of organizations of 
this character, the history of this day proves conclu- 
sively to those who were in a condition to observe the 
conduct of these regiments, that the Government will 
find in this class of troops effective supporters and de- 
fenders. The severe test to which they were subjected, 
and the determined manner in which they encountered 
the enemy, leaves upon my mind no doubt of their ulti- 
mate success." 

Hon. B. F. Flanders paid them the following tri- 
bute : — 

" The unanimous report of all those who were in the 
recent battle at Port Hudson, in regard to the negroes, 



BATTLE OF PORT HUDSON. 173 

is, that they fought like devils. They have completely 
conquered the prejudice of the army against them. 
Never before was there such an extraordinary revolu- 
tion of sentiment as that of this army in respect to the 
negroes as soldiers. " 

This change was indeed needed ; for only a few days 
previous to the battle, while the regiments were at Baton 
Rouge, the line-officers of the New-England troops, 
either through jealousy or hatred to the colored men on 
account of their complexion, demanded that the latter, 
as officers, should be dismissed. And, to the disgrace of 
these white officers, the colored men, through the mean 
treatment of their superiors in office, the taunts and 
jeers of their white assailants, were compelled to throw 
up their commissions. The colored soldiers were deeply 
pained at seeing the officers of their own color and 
choice taken from them ; for they were much attached to 
their commanders, some of whom were special favorites 
with the whole regiment. Among these were First Lieut. 
Joseph Howard of Company I, and Second Lieut. Joseph 
G-. Parker,' of Company C. These gentlemen were both 
possessed of ample wealth, and had entered the army, not 
as a matter of speculation, as too many have done, but 
from a love of military life. Lieut. Howard was a man 
of more than ordinary ability in military tactics ; and a 
braver or more daring officer could not be found in the 
Valley of the Mississippi. He was well educated, speak- 
ing the English, French, and Spanish languages fluently, 
and was considered a scholar of rare literary attain- 
ments. He, with his friend Parker, felt sorely the hu- 
miliation attending their dismissal from the army, and 
seldom showed themselves on the streets of their native 
city, to which they had returned. When the news 



174 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

reached New Orleans of the heroic charge made by the 
First Louisiana Regiment, at Port Hudson, on the 27th of 
May, Howard at once called on Parker ; and they were 
so fired with the intelligence, that they determined to 
proceed to Port Hudson, and to join their old regiment as 
privates. That night they took passage, and the following 
dav found them with their former friends in arms. The 
regiment was still in position close to the enemy's works, 
and the appearance of the two lieutenants was hailed with 
demonstrations of joy. Instead of being placed as pri- 
vates in the ranks, they were both immediately assigned 
the command of a company each, not from any compli- 
ment to them, but from sheer necessity, because the 
white officers of these companies, feeling that the colored 
soldiers were put in the front of the battle owing to their 
complexion, were not willing to risk their lives, and had 
thrown up their commissions. 

On the 5th of June, these two officers were put to 
the test, and nobly did they maintain their former rep- 
utation for bravery. Capt. Howard leading the way, 
they charged upon the rebel's rifle-pits, drove them 
out, and took possession, and held them for three hours, 
in the face of a raking fire of artillery. Several times 
the blacks were so completely hidden from view by the 
smoke of their own guns and the enemy's heavy cannon, 
that they could not be seen. It was at this time, that 
Capt. Howard exhibited his splendid powers as a com- 
mander. The negroes never hesitated. Amid the roar 
of artillery, and the rattling of musketry, the groans of 
the wounded, and the ghastly appearance of the dead, 
the heroic and intrepid Howard was the same. He never 
said to his men, " Go," but always, "Follow me." At 
last, when: many of their men were killed, and the 



BATTLE OP PORT HUDSON. 175 

severe fire of the enemy's artillery seemed to mow down 
every thing before it, these brave men were compelled 
to fall back from the pits which they had so triumphantly 
taken. At nightfall, Gen. Banks paid the negro officers 
a high compliment, shaking the hand of Capt. Howard, 
and congratulating him on his return, and telling his aides 
that this man was worthy of a more elevated position. 

Although the First Louisiana had done well, its great 
triumph was reserved for the 14th of June, when Capt. 
Howard and his associates in arms won for themselves 
immortal renown. Never, in the palmy days of Napoleon, 
Wellington, or any other general, was more true hero- 
ism shown. The effect of the battle of the 27th of 
May, is thus described in " The New-York Herald," 
June 6 : — 

" The First Regiment Louisiana Native Guard, Col. 
Nelson, were in this charge. They went on the advance, 
and, when they came out, six hundred out of nine hundred 
men could not be accounted for. It is said on every side 
that they fought with the desperation of tigers. One negro 
was observed with a rebel soldier in his grasp, tearing 
the flesh from his face with his teeth, other weapons 
having failed him. There are other incidents connected 
with the conduct of this regiment that have raised them 
very much in my opinion as soldiers. After firing one 
volley, they did not deign to load again, but went in with 
bayonets ; and, wherever they had a chance, it was all up 
with the rebels." 

From " The New-York Tribune/ 7 June 8 : — 

" Nobly done, First Regiment of Louisiana Native 
Guard ! though you failed to carry the rebel works 
against overwhelming numbers, you did not charge and 
fight and fall in vain, That heap of six hundred corpses, 



176 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

lying there dark and grim and silent before and within 
the rebel works, is a better proclamation of freedom 
than even President Lincoln's. A race ready to die thus 
was never yet retained in bondage, and never can be. 
Even the Wood copperheads, who will not fight them- 
selves, and try to keep others out of the Union ranks, 
will not dare to mob negro regiments if this is their style 
of fighting. 

" Thus passes one regiment of blacks to death and 
everlasting fame." 

Humanity should not forget, that, at the surrender of 
Port Hudson, not a single colored man could be found 
alive, although thirty-five were known to have been 
taken prisoners during the siege. All had been mur- 
dered. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

GENERAL BANKS IN LOUISIANA. 

Gen. Banks at New Orleans. — Old Slave -laws revived. — Treatment of Free 
Colored Persons. — Col. Jonas H. French. — 111 Treatment at Port Hudson. 

Gen. Banks's antecedents were unfavorable to him 
when he landed in New Orleans. True, he was from 
Massachusetts, and was a Republican : but he belonged 
to the conservative portion of the party. The word 
" white" in the militia law, which had so long offended 
the good taste and better judgment of the majority of 
the people, was stricken out during the last term 
of Gov. Banks's administration, but failed to re- 
ceive his sanction. In his message vetoing the bill, 
he resorted to a laborious effort of special pleading to 
prove that the negro was not a citizen. The fact is, he 
was a Democrat dressed up in Republican garments. 
Gen. Butler had brought the whites and blacks nearly 
to a level with each other as citizens of New Orleans, 
when he was succeeded by Gen. Banks. The latter at 
once began a system of treatment to the colored people^ 
which showed that his feelings were with the whites^ 
and against the blacks. The old slave-law, requiring 
colored persons to be provided with passes to enable 
them to be out from their homes after half-past eight 
o'clock at night was revived by Gen. Banks's under- 
strappers, as the following will show : — 

12 177 



178 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

" St. Charles Hotel, New Orleans, Jan. 25. 

" On Tuesday evening last, at half-past eight o'clock, 
while passing up St. Charles Street in company with P. S. 
Schell, Esq., the artist of i Frank Leslie's Pictorial/ who is 
attached to the Banks Expedition, Iwas suddenly ac- 
costed by two colored women, one of whom, a beautiful 
mulatto very tastily attired, besought me to protect her 
from the watchmen, who, she said, were following close 
behind her on the opposite side of the street, and were 
about to arrest her and her mother for being out with- 
out passes. 

" I offered her and her mother all the protection in my 
power until they should reach their home, which was 
but a few blocks distant ; and I had but scarcely made the 
proffer, when two powerful and muscular watchmen 
came running across the street, club in hand, and at 
once proceeded to arrest the women. I inquired of the 
officers by what authority they arrested slaves or free 
colored people. They informed me that they were acting 
under orders received from the chief of police, Col. 
Jonas H. French. 

" The women begged, with tears in their eyes, for their 
liberty, that they might return to their homes, where a 
sister was lying dangerously ill, and towards whom they 
were hastening when seized by the watchmen. Being 
enough of a l Yankee abolitionist ? to feel a glow of 
indignation at this flagrant violation of human rights, 
and, as I supposed, illegal assumption of power, I pro- 
ceeded to the prison or watch-house, adjoining the city 
ball, from the roof of which flies the flag of freedom. 

"What a sight was revealed to me on my visit to that 
prison ! Such a scene may I never be permitted to visit 
again ! Securing permission, I went into the corridor, 



GENERAL BANKS IN LOUISIANA. 179 

from which lead the cells. There I saw, in one cell, fifteen 
feet by twenty feet, fifty colored women and girls packed 
like so many cattle : there were six or eight wooden 
berths, with pine mattresses and oak pillows, for these 
poor creatures to rest their limbs upon. Of course, the 
most of them were obliged to stand uprightly, or lie 
upon the wet flooring of the cell. 

" I never shall forget the emotions that arose within my 
bosom as I stood intently gazing upon the sorrowing 
faces of these unfortunates as they cast wistful glances 
through the heavy iron bars of their cell, and in suppli- 
cating tones implored me to secure them their release. 
One pretty young girl of fifteen, with a beautiful face, 
whose complexion was that of a pretty Boston bru- 
nette, and with long flowing hair, slightly crimpled, was 
sobbing as though her heart would break for her mother. 
She was terrified at the surroundings of her new po- 
sition, and the hideous yells of drunken soldiers and 
sailors in the next cell. 

" There were confined in this cell several women, who, 
in New York or Boston, would pass for white women 
without the slightest difficulty or suspicion. And there 
were many darker countenances in that cell, that were 
intelligent, and indicated the existence and beating of 
hearts beneath those tinged and sable hues. In the 
opposite cells were over one hundred colored men and 
boys of all colors, from the ebony, thick-lipped African, 
to the mulatto, and delicately-tinged colored man. They 
were there from all ages, from the little child of nine 
years, to the aged and decrepit negro of seventy-five. 
There were the dandy darkey, slave and free; the 
laborer, slave and free ; the mechanic and waiter, slave 
and free. 



180 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

" Some of these men were the fathers, husbands, and 
brothers of the women in the opposite cells. It was but 
a little while after, when, the jailer having barred the 
door which leads into the stone corridor, I heard dis- 
tinctly the swelling notes of l John Brown's body lies 
mouldering/ &c, and shortly after the grand chorus of 
an ancient Methodist hymn, ' For Jesus' sake, we'll serve 
the Lord.' The next evening, I visited the cells, and 
found that nearly all who had been imprisoned the pre- 
vious evening had been released on paying a fine of one 
dollar and a quarter for free people, and one dollar and 
a half for slaves. 

" There were several likely-looking negro-girls still in 
the cell, and three mothers. All of these mothers had 
sons in the Union army, enlisted in the colored Native- 
Guard Regiment. One of them had three sons in one 
regiment ; the other had two sons, her only chil- 
dren ; and the only child of the third, a boy of nineteen 
years, was a sergeant in a colored company. These 
mothers were all the property of rebels ; for they told me 
their masters and mistresses swore they would 6 never 
take the oath of allegiance to the abolition Yankee Gov- 
ernment.' I asked them how they happened to be im- 
prisoned, and was informed that their masters and mis- 
tresses had them i sent to prison for safe-keeping.' 

u One mother told me she was always treated well until 
her sons joined the negro regiment, since which time 
she had been whipped and otherwise sadly abused. She 
was not allowed so much liberty at home, and her mis- 
tress had put her off on a short allowance of food, be- 
cause she did not prevent her sons from enlisting. 

u Here is a verbatim copy of the official order requiring 
the arrest by the police of all colored people found in 



GENERAL BANKS IN LOUISIANA. 181 

the streets. Beyond the simple written notice, nothing 
more has been made public in regard to this important 
matter : — 

u ' Office Chief of Police. 

" ' Lieut. J. Duari) — You are hereby ordered to arrest all negroes out without 
passes after half past eight, p.m. 

" « By order of 

" ' Col. J. H. French, 
k i Provost-marshal General and Chief of -Policed " 

" Notices of this kind were sent to all the station-houses, 
and were posted in the offices. It is a most despotic 
law to put in force at such an hour as this, to protect 
the property, in the shape of human flesh and blood, in 
God's creatures, belonging or. owned, as they say, by 
the very fiends who have no compulsion at shedding 
the precious life's blood of our sons and brothers, hus- 
bands and fathers. 

" We, who profess to be Christian people, contributing 
blood and treasure for the suppression of this cursed Re- 
bellion, are now called upon to provide cells for the safe- 
keeping of their slaves." — Correspondence of The Boston 
Traveller. 

The following private letter (says " The New- York 
Tribune ") from a colored man in New Orleans, cancel- 
ling an order he had previously sent to New York for a 
banner, may throw some light on the state of things in 
the Southern metropolis : — 

" Sir, — If you have not had the banner commenced, it 
is useless to have it made at all, as, since the issuing of 
the President's proclamation, Jonas H. French has 
stopped all of our night-meetings, and has caused us to 
get permits to hold meetings on Sunday, and sends his 



182 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

police around to all of the colored churches every Sun- 
day to examine all of the permits. He had all the slaves 
that were turned out of their former owners' yards re- 
arrested and sent back; those who belonged to rebels as 
well as those who belong to loyal persons. The slaves 
were mustered into the rebel army. He has them con- 
fined in jail to starve and die, and refuses their friends 
to see them. He is much worse than our rebel masters, 
he being the chief of police. Last night, after Gen. 
Banks left the city, Col. French issued a secret order to 
all the police-stations to arrest all the negroes who may 
be found in the streets, and at the places of amusement, 
and placed in jail. There were about five hundred, both 
free and slave, confined, without the least notice or 
cause, — persons who thought themselves free by the 
President's proclamation, from the parishes of Natchi- 
toches, Ouachita, Rapides, Catahoula, Concordia, Aragu- 
les, Jaques, Iberville, West Baton Rouge, Point Coupee, 
Filiciana, East Baton Rouge, St. Helena, Washington, 
St. Samany. Free persons of color from any of these 
parishes, who are found within the limits of the city, are 
immediately arrested and placed in jail by order. of Col. 
French. Therefore it is useless to have the banner 
made, as there is no use for it since Gen. Butler has 
left. R. K. T." 

All colored persons, even those who had been born 
free, and had resided in the city from infancy, were 
included in the order of the provost-marshal. It is a 
fact beyond dispute, that both officers and soldiers under 
Gen. Banks's rule in Louisiana manifested a degree of 
negro hate that was almost unknown before their ad- 
vent. 



GENERAL BANKS IN LOUISIANA. 183 

At the siege of Port Hudson, this- prejudice against 
the- blacks was exhibited by all, from Gen. Banks down 
to the most ignorant private. A correspondent in " The 
Boston Commonwealth," dated at Port Hudson, July 17, 
1864, says, — 

" Thus, in the siege of Port Hudson, no one knew an 
instance of such terrible assaults, without possibility of 
success, but only repeated in obedience to Gen. Dwight's 
order to l continue charging till further orders. 7 The 
white troops were unanimous in praising the valor of 
this devoted regiment. How was it when the provisions 
of Paragraph 11, Appendix B, Revised Army Regula- 
tions, 1863, were carried out? A General Order from 
Gen. Banks authorizes ' Port Hudson ? to be inscribed 
on every banner but those of the colored regiments, 
which are overlooked. Do those people who speak so 
loudly in praise of these regiments at Port Hudson know 
they are the only ones not authorized to inscribe £ Port 
Hudson 7 on their flags? Does Adjutant -Gen. Thomas 
know it ? The only inscription on the banner of the 
glorious Seventy-third is the blood-stain of the noble 
sergeant who bore it in this fierce assault, and the rents 
made in the struggle of the corporals to obtain the dear 
rag from the dying man who had rolled himself up in its 
fold. Regiments which* were ridiculed as cowards and 
vagabonds have Port Hudson on their flags. Let us 
be cautious how we praise the First Native Guards : 
they have it not on their flag. Thank God there were 
thousands of honest privates in the ranks of the white 
regiments who will tell the story of the First Native 
Guards ! The changes of its designation and consolida- 
tion with other regiments will not entirely obliterate its 
fame. The blood of the heroic Callioux and his fellow- 



184 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

victims at Port Hudson will cry to Heaven, and will be 
heard. 

" And how has it run in the campaign of 1864? This 
same devoted regiment followed the army of Gen. 
Banks to Pleasant Hill ; but Fort Pillow rushed red 
on the general's sight, and he dare not let them fight. 
They were therefore made to i boost ' along the wagon- 
trains of the white troops ; to build the greater part of 
the famous bridge which saved the fleet, and got Lieut.- 
Col. Bailey a star ; to endure the kicks and insults of 
white soldiers ; the officers to be put in arrest by infe- 
rior officers of white regiments, and returned to Morgan- 
zia. Every available man is detailed daily, rain or shine, 
to work on the fortifications under the jeers of loafing 
white soldiers and officers. 77 

The labor-system adopted by Gen. Banks for the freed- 
men was nothing less than slavery under another name. 
Having no confidence in the negro's ability to take care 
*of himself, he felt that, even in freedom, he needed a 
master, and therefore put him in leading-strings. The 
general evidently considered that the wishes of the 
white planters, whether rebel or not, were to be grati- 
fied, although it were done at the expense of the black 
man. In reconstructing the civil authorities of the city 
of New Orleans, he carried out the same policy of ignor- 
ing the rights of the colored people, as will be seen by 
the following extract from a petition of the colored citi- 
zens to President Lincoln : — 

" Your petitioners aver that they have applied in 
respectful terms to Brig.-Gen. George P. Shepley, 
Military Governor of Louisiana, and to Major-Gen. N. P. 
Banks, commanding the Department of the Gulf, praying 
to be placed upon the registers as voters, to the end that 



GENERAL BANKS IN LOUISIANA. 185 

they might participate in the re-organization of civil gov- 
ernment in Louisiana ; and that their petition has met 
with no response from those officers." 

This petition was signed by the men, who, when the 
city was threatened by the rebels during the siege of 
Port Hudson, took up arms for its defence ; all of whom 
were loyal to the American Union. 



CHAPTER XXV. 



HONORS TO THE NOBLE DEAD, 



Capt. Andre Callioux. — His Body lies in State. — Personal Appearance. 
— His Enthusiasm. — His Popularity. — His Funeral. — The great Re- 
spect paid the Deceased. — General Lamentation. 

The death of Capt. Andre Callioux created a pro- 
found sensation throughout Louisiana, and especially in 
New Orleans, where the deceased had lived from child- 
hood. This feeling of sorrow found vent at the funeral, 
which took place on the 11th of July, 1863. We give 
the following, written at the time by a correspondent 
of a New- York Journal : — 

" New Orleans, Saturday, Aug. 1, 1863. 

" The most extraordinary local event that has ever 
been seen within our borders, and, I think, one of the 
most extraordinary exhibitions brought forth by this 
Rebellion, was the funeral of Capt. Andr£ Callioux, Com- 
pany E, First Louisiana National Guards. Here, in this 
Southern emporium, was performed a funeral ceremony 
that for numbers and impressiveness never had its supe- 
rior in this city ; and it was originated and carried 
through in honor of a gallant soldier of the despised 
race, to enslave which, it is said, will soothe this State 
back into the Union. 

" Capt. Callioux was fine-looking, and, in his military 
dress, had an imposing appearance. I remember seeing 
him at Gen. Banks's headquarters, in company with at 

186 



HONORS TO THE NOBLE DEAD. 187 

least fifteen of our prominent military officers ; and he 
was a marked personage among them all. In the cele- 
brated assault and repulse on Port Hudson by Gen. 
Banks, Capt. Callioux fell, at the head of his company, 
on the 27th of May last, while gallantly leading it on to 
the enemy's works. His body, along with others of the 
national regiments, after the battle, lay within deadly 
reach of the rebel sharpshooters ; and all attempts to 
recover the body were met with a shower of Minie- 
bullets. Thus guarded by the enemy, or, I might say, 
thus honored by their attention, the body lay exposed 
until the surrender of the place, the 8th of July, when 
it was recovered, and brought to this city to receive the 
astonishing ovation connected with the last rights of 
humanity. 

"The arrival of the body developed to the white pop- 
ulation here that the colored people had powerful or- 
ganizations in the form of civic societies ; as the Friends 
of the Order, of which Capt. Callioux was a prominent 
member, received the body, and had the coffin contain- 
ing it, draped with the American flag, exposed in state 
in the commodious hall. Around the coffin, flowers were 
strewn in the greatest profusion, and candles were kept 
continually burning. All the rights of the Catholic 
Church were strictly complied with. The guard paced 
silently to and fro, and altogether it presented as solemn 
a scene as was ever witnessed. 

" In due time, the band of the Forty-second Massachu- 
setts Regiment made their appearance, and discoursed 
the customary solemn airs. The officiating priest, Father 
Le Maistre, of the Church of St. Rose of Lima, who 
has paid not the least attention to the excommunication 
and denunciations issued against him by the archbishop 
of this diocese, then performed the Catholic service for 



188 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

the dead. After the regular services, he ascended to 
the president's chair, and delivered a glowing and elo- 
quent eulogy on the virtues of the deceased. He called 
upon all present to offer themselves, as Callioux had 
done, martyrs to the cause of justice, freedom, and good 
government. It was a death the proudest might envy. 

" Immense crowds of colored people had by this time 
gathered* around the building, and the streets leading 
thereto were rendered almost impassable. Two compa- 
nies of the Sixth Louisiana (colored) Regiment, from 
their camp on the Company Canal, were there to act as 
an escort ; and Esplanade Street, for more than a mile, 
was lined with colored societies, both male and female, 
in open order, waiting for the hearse to pass through. 

" After a short pause, a sudden silence fell upon the 
crowd, the band commenced playing a dirge ; and the 
body was brought from the hall on the shoulders of eight 
soldiers, escorted by six members of the society, and 
six colored captains, who acted as pall-bearers. The 
corpse was conveyed to the hearse through a crowd 
composed of both white and black people, and in silence 
profound as death itself. Not a sound was heard save 
the mournful music of the band, and not a head in all 
that vast multitude but was uncovered. 

" The procession then moved off in the following order : 
The hearse containing the body, with Capts. J. W. Ring- 
gold, W. B. Barrett, S. J. Wilkinson, Eugene Mailleur, 
J. A. Glea, and A. St. Leger (all of whom, we believe, 
belong to the Second Louisiana Native Guards), and six 
members of The Friends of the Order, as pall-bear- 
ers ; about a hundred convalescent sick and wounded 
colored soldiers ; the two companies of the Sixth Regi- 
ment ; a large number of colored officers of all native 
guard regiments ; the carriages containing Capt. Cal- 



HONORS TO THE NOBLE DEAD. 1159 

lioux's family, and a number of army officers ; winding 
up with a large number of private individuals, and the 
following-named societies : — 

Friends of the Order. 

Society of Economy and Mutual Assistance. 

United Brethren. 

Arts'' and Mechanics' Association. 

Free Friends. 
Good Shepherd Conclave, No. 2. 

Artisans' Brotherhood. 

Good Shepherd Conclave, No. 1. 

Union Sons' Relief. 

Perseverance Society. 

Ladies of Bon Secours. 

La Fleur de Marie. 

Saint Rose of Lima. 

The Children of Mary Society. 

Saint Angela Society. 

The Immaculate Conception Society. 

The Sacred Union Society. 

The Children of Jesus. 

Saint Veronica Society. 

Saint Alphonsus Society. 

Saint Joachim Society. 

Star of the Cross. 

Saint Theresa Society. 

Saint Eulalia Society. 

Saint Magdalen Society. 

God Protect Us Society. 

United Sisterhood. 

Angel Gabriel Society. 

Saint Louis Roi Society. 

Saint Benoit Society. 

Benevolence Society. 

Well Beloved Sisters? Society. 

Saint Peter Society. 

Saint Michael Archangel Society 

Saint Louis de Gonzague Society. 

Saint Ann Society. 

The Children of Moses 



iSo 



THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 



u After moving through the principal down-town 
streets, the body was taken to the Bienville-street ceme- 
tery, and there interred with military honors due his 
rank. 

" Capt. Callioux was a native of this city, aged forty- 
three years, and was one of the first to raise a company 
under the call of Gen. Butler for colored volunteers. 
'The Union/ of this city, a paper of stanch loyalty, 
which is devoted to the interests of the colored people, 
speaking \pf Capt. Callioux, says l By his gallant bear- 
ing, his gentlemanly deportment, his amiable disposition, 
and his capacities as a soldier, — having received a very 
good education, — he became the idol of his men, and 
won the respect and confidence of his superior officers. 
He was a true type of the Louisianian. In this city, 
where he passed his life, he was loved and respected by 
all who knew him. 

" 6 In Capt. Callioux, the cause of the Union and free- 
dom has lost a valuable friend. Capt. Callioux, defend- 
ing the integrity of the sacred cause of liberty, vindi- 
cated his race from the opprobrium with which it was 
charged. He leaves a wife and several children, who 
will have the consolation that he died the death of the 
patriot and the righteous.' 

" The long pageant has passed away ; but there is left 
deeply impressed on the minds of those who witnessed 
this extraordinary sight the fact that thousands of peo- 
ple born in slavery had, by the events of the Rebel- 
lion, been disinthralled enough to appear in the streets 
of New Orleans, bearing to the tomb a man of their own 
color, who had fallen gallantly fighting for the flag and 
his country, — a man who had sealed with his blood the 
inspiration he received from Mr. Lincoln's Emanci- 



HONORS TO THE NOBLE DEAD. 191 

pation Proclamation. The thousands of the unfortu- 
nates who followed his remains had the flag of the 
Union in miniature form waving in their hands, or 
pinned tastefully on their persons. 

" We would ask, Can these people ever again be sub- 
jected to slavery? Are these men who have been 
regenerated by wearing the United-States uniform, 
these men who have given their race to our armies to 
fight our would-be oppressors, — are these people 
to be, can they ever again be, handed over to the task- 
master ? Would a Government that would do such a 
thing be respected by the world, be honored of God ? 
Could the Christianized people of the globe have wit- 
nessed the funeral of Capt. Callioux, there would have 
been but one sentiment called forth, and that is this, — 
that the National Government can make no compromise 
on this slave question. It is too late to retreat : the re- 
sponsibility has been taken, and the struggle must go on 
until there is not legally a slave under the folds of the 
American flag." 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

THE NORTHERN WING OP THE REBELLION. 

The New- York Mob. — Murder, Fire, and Robbery. — The City given 
np to the Eioters. — Whites and Blacks robbed in Open Day in the 
Great Thoroughfares. — Negroes murdered, burned, and their Bodies 
hung on Lamp-posts. — Southern Rebels at the Head of the Riot. 

The partial successes which the rebels had achieved 
at Bull Run, Ball's Bluff, and Big Bethel, together with 
the defiant position of Gen. Lee on the one hand, and 
the bad management of Gen. McClellan on the other, 
had emboldened the rebels, and made them feel their 
"strength. 

Those who had served out their terms of service in the 
Union army were not very anxious to re-enlist. The Con- 
script Act had been passed by Congress, and the copper- 
head press throughout, the land was urging the people 
to resist the draft, when the welcome news of the surren- 
der of Vicksburg and Port Hudson came over the wires. 
The agents of the Confederacy were at once despatched 
to New York to " let loose the dogs of war." 

As the blacks of the South had assisted in the capture 
of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, the colored people of 
the North must be made to suffer for it. 

The mob was composed of the lowest and most de- 
graded of the foreign population (mainly Irish), raked 
from the filthy cellars and dens of the city, steeped in 
crimes of the deepest dye, and ready for any act, no 

192 



NORTHERN WING OF THE REBELLION. 193 

matter how dark and damnable ; together with the worst 
type of our native criminals, whose long service in the 
prisons of the country, and whose training in the Demo- 
cratic party, had so demoralized their natures, that they 
were ever on the hunt for some deed of robbery or 
murder. 

This conglomerated mass of human beings were under 
the leadership of men standing higher than themselves 
in the estimation of the public, but, if possible, really 
lower in moral degradation. Cheered on by men hold- 
ing high political positions, and finding little or no oppo- 
sition, they went on at a fearful rate. 

Never, in the history of mob-violence, was crime car- 
ried to such an extent. Murder, arson, robbery, and 
cruelty reigned triumphant throughout the city, day 
and night, for more than a week. 

Breaking into stores, hotels, and saloons, and helping 
themselves to strong drink, ad libitum, they became ine- 
bi\ated, and marched through every part of the city. 
Calling at places where large bodies of men were at 
work, and pressing them in, their numbers rapidly in- 
creased to thousands, and their fiendish depredations had 
no bounds. Having been taught by the leaders of the 
Democratic party to hate the negro, and having but a 
few weeks previous seen regiments of colored volun- 
teers pass 'through New York on their way South, this 
infuriated band of drunken men, women, and children 
paid special visits to all localities inhabited by the 
blacks, and murdered all they could lay their hands on, 
without regard to age or sex. Every place known to 
employ negroes was searched : steamboats leaving the 
city, and railroad depots, were watched, lest some should 
escape their vengeance. 

13 



194 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

Hundreds of the blacks, driven from their homes, and 
hunted and chased through the streets, presented them- 
selves at the doors of jails, prisons, and police-stations, 
and begged admission. Thus did they prowl about the 
city, committing crime after crime ; indeed, in point of 
cruelty, the Rebellion was transferred from the South 
to the North. 

These depredations were to offset the glorious tri- 
umphs of our arms in the rebel States. 

Peaceful o'er the placid waters rose the radiant summer sun, 
Loyal voices shouted anthems o'er the conquest bravely won ; 
For the walls of Vicksburg yielded to the Union shot and shell, 
While Port Hudson, trembling, waited but a clearer tale to tell. 

But, alas ! day's golden image scarce had left its impress there, 
When above a Northern city rose the sounds of wild despair : 
Fiends and demons yet unnumbered rallied forth in bold array ; 
Deeds of darkness, scenes of carnage, marked the traitors' onward way. 

Blind to feeling, deaf to mercy, who may judge the depth of crime 1 
None but God may know the misery traced upon the Book of Time. 

^The following account of the mob is from "The New- 
York Times » July 14, 1863 : — 

" The Orphan Asylum for Colored Children was visited 
by the mob about four o'clock. This institution is situat- 
ed on Fifth Avenue ; and the building, with the grounds 
and gardens adjoining, extends from Forty-third to For- 
ty-fourth Street. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of 
the rioters, the majority of whom were women and chil- 
dren, entered the premises, and, in the most excited 
and violent manner, ransacked and plundered the build- 
ing from cellar to garret. The building was located 
in the most healthy portion of the city. It was purely 



NORTHERN WING OF THE REBELLION. 195 

a charitable institution. In it there was an average of 
six or eight hundred homeless colored orphans. The 
building was a large four-story one, with two wings of 
three stories each. 

"When it became evident that the crowd designed to 
destroy it, a flag of truce appeared on the walk oppo- 
site, and the principals of the establishment made an 
appeal to the excited populace ; but in vain. 

"Here it was, that Chief-Engineer Decker showed him- 
self one of the bravest of the brave. After the entire 
building had been ransacked, and every article deemed 
worth carrying had been taken, — and this included even 
the little garments for the orphans, which were contributed 
by the benevolent ladies of the city, — the premises were 
fired on the first floor. Mr. Decker did all he could to 
prevent the flames from being kindled ; but, when he was 
overpowered by superior numbers, with his own hands 
he scattered the brands, and effectually extinguished the 
flames. A second attempt was made, and this time in 
three different parts of the house. Again he succeeded, 
with the aid of half a dozen of his men, in defeating the 
incendiaries. The mob became highly exasperated at 
his conduct, and threatened to take his life if he re- 
peated the act. On the front steps of the building, he 
stood up amid an infuriated and half-drunken mob of 
two thousand, and begged of them to do nothing so dis- 
graceful to humanity as to burn a benevolent institution, 
which had for its object nothing but good. He said it 
would be a lasting disgrace to them and to the city of 
New York. 

" These remarks seemed to have no good effect upon 
them, and meantime the premises were again fired, — 
this time in all parts of the house. Mr. Decker, with 



196 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

his few brave men, again extinguished the flames. This 
last act brought down upon him the vengeance of all 
who were bent on the destruction of the asylum ; and 
but for the fact that some firemen surrounded him, and 
boldly said that Mr. Decker could not be taken except 
over their bodies, he would have been despatched on 
the spot. The institution was destined to be burned ; 
and, after an hour and a half of labor on the part of the 
mob, it was in flames in all parts. Three or four per- 
sons were horribly bruised by the falling walls ; but the 
names we could not ascertain. There is now scarcely 
one brick left on another of the Orphan Asjdum. 

"At one o'clock yesterday, the garrison of the Sev- 
enth-avenue arsenal witnessed a sad and novel sight. 
Winding slowly along Thirty-fourth Street into Seventh 
Avenue, headed by a strong police force, came the little 
colored orphans, whose asylum had been burned down 
on Monday night. The boys, from two and three to fif- 
teen years of age, followed by little girls of the same 
ages, to the number of about two hundred each, trotted 
along, and were halted in front of the arsenal. 

" Then came a large number of men and women, sev- 
eral having babes in their arms, who had been forced to 
seek refuge in adjacent station-houses from the fury of 
the mob. Most of them carried small bundles of cloth- 
ing and light articles of furniture, all they had been 
able to save from the wreck of their property. The ne- 
groes who had sought safety under the guns of the arse- 
nal were then taken out, and ordered to join their 
friends outside. The procession was then re-formed, 
and, headed by the police, marched back again down 
Thirty-fifth Street to the North River. 

" A strong detachment of Hawkins's Zouaves guarded 



NORTHERN WING OF THE REBELLION. 197 

the flanks of the procession ; while a company of the 
Tenth New-York Volunteers, and a squad of police, closed 
up the rear. Col. William Meyer had command of the 
escort ; and on arriving at the pier, where a numerous 
crowd had followed them, he placed his men, with fixed 
bayonets, facing the people to keep them in check ; and 
the negroes were all safely embarked, and conveyed to 
Ricker's Island. 

" The poor negroes have had a hard time. Finding they 
were to be slaughtered indiscriminately, they have hid 
themselves in cellars and garrets, and have endeavored, 
under cover of darkness, to flee to neighboring places. 
The Elysian Fields, over in Hoboken, has been a pretty 
safe refuge for them, as there are but few Irish living 
in that city. They have a sort of improvised camp there, 
composed mainly of women and children." 

Blacks were chased to the docks, thrown into the 
river, and drowned ; while some, after being murdered, 
were hung to lamp-posts. Between forty and fifty col- 
ored persons were killed, and nearly as many maimed 
for life. But space will not allow us to give any thing 
like a detailed account of this most barbarous outrage. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

ASSAULT ON FORT WAGNER. 

The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment. — Col. Shaw. — March to the 
Island. — Preparation. — Speeches. — The Attack. — Storm of Shot, 
Shell, and Canister. — Heroism of Officers and Men. — Death of Col. 
Shaw. — The Color-sergeant. — The Retreat. — " Buried with his 
Niggers. ** — Comments. 

On the 16th of July, the Fifty-fourth Eegiment (col- 
ored), Col. R. G. Shaw, was attacked by the enemy, on 
James Island, in which a fight of two hours' duration took 
place, the Rebels largely outnumbering the Union forces. 
The Fifty-fourth, however, drove the enemy before 
them in confusion. The loss to our men was fourteen 
killed and eighteen wounded. During the same day, 
Col. Shaw received orders from Gen. Gillmore to evacu- 
ate the island. Preparations began at dusk. . The night 
was dark and stormy, and made the movement both diffi- 
cult and dangerous. The march was from James Island 
to Cole Island, across marshes, streams, and dikes, and 
part of the way upon narrow foot-bridges, along which it 
was necessary to proceed in single-file. The whole force 
reached Cole Island the next morning, July 17, and 
rested during the day on the beach opposite the south 
end of Folly Island. About ten o'clock in the evening, 
the colonel of the Fifty-fourth received orders directing 
him to report, with his command, to Gen. George C. 
Strong, at Morris Island, to whose brigade the regiment 
was transferred. 

198 



ASSAULT ON FORT WAGNER. 199 

From eleven o'clock of Friday evening until four 
o'clock of Saturday, they were being put on the trans- 
port, "The Gen. Hunter/' in a boat which took about fifty 
at a time. There they breakfasted on the same fare, and 
had no other food before entering into the assault on 
Fort Wagner in the evening. 

"The Gen. Hunter" left Cole Island for Folly-Island 
at six, a.m. ; and the troops landed at Pawnee Landing 
about nine and a half, a.m., and thence marched to the point 
opposite Morris Island, reaching there about two o'clock 
in the afternoon. They were transported in a steamer 
across the inlet, and at four, p.m., began their march for 
Fort Wagner. They reached Brigadier-Gen. Strong's 
quarters, about midway on the island, about six or six 
and a half o'clock, where they halted for five minutes. 

Gen. Strong expressed a great desire to give them 
food and stimulants ; but it was too late, as they had to 
lead the charge. They had been without tents during 
the pelting rains of Thursday and Friday nights. Gen. 
Strong had been impressed with the high character of 
the regiment and its officers ; and he wished to assign 
them the post where the most severe work was to be 
done and the highest honor was to be won. 

The march across Folly and Morris Islands was over a 
sandy road, and was very wearisome. The regiment 
went through the centre of the island, and not along the 
beach, where the marching was easier. 

When they had come within six hundred yards of 
Fort Wagner, they formed in line of battle, the colonel 
heading the first, and the major the second battalion. 
This was within musket-shot of the enenr^. There was 
little firing from the enemy; a solid shot falling between 
the battalions, and another falling to the right, but no 



200 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

musketry. At this point, the regiment, together with 
the next supporting regiment, the Sixth Connecticut, 
Ninth Maine, and others, remained half an hour. The 
regiment was addressed by Gen. Strong and by Col. Shaw. 
Then, at seven and a half or seven and three-quarters 
o'clock, the order for the charge was given. The regi- 
ment advanced at quick time, changed to double-quick 
when at some distance on. 

The intervening distance between the place where the 
line was formed and the fort was run over in a few 
minutes. 

When about one hundred yards from the fort, the rebel 
musketry opened with such terrible effect, that, for an in- 
stant, the first battalion hesitated, — but only for an 
instant ; for Col. Shaw, springing to the front and waving 
his sword, shouted, " Forward, my brave boys ! " and 
with another cheer and a shout they rushed through the 
ditch, gained the parapet on the right, and were soon 
engaged in a hand-to-hand conflict with the enemy. Col. 
Shaw was one of the first to scale the walls. He stood 
erect to urge forward his men, and, while shouting for 
them to press on, was shot dead, and fell into the fort. 
His body was found, with twenty of his men lying dead 
around him ; two lying on his own body. 

The Fifty-fourth did well and nobly ; only the fall of 
Col. Shaw prevented them from entering the fort. They 
moved up as gallantly as any troops could, and, with their 
enthusiasm, they deserved a better fate. 

Sergeant-major Lewis H. Douglass, son of Frederick 
Douglass, the celebrated orator, sprang upon the para- 
pet close behind Col. Shaw, and cried out, " Come, boys, 
come, let's fight for God and Governor Andrew. 77 This 
brave young man was the last to leave the parapet. Be- 



ASSAULT ON FORT WAGNER. 201 

fore the regiment reached the parapet, the color-sergeant 
was wounded ; and, while in the act of falling, the colors 
were seized by Sergt. William H. Carney, who bore them 
up, and mounted the parapet, where he, too, received 
three severe wounds. But, on orders being given to re- 
tire, the color-bearer, though almost disabled, still held 
the emblem of liberty in the air, and followed his regi- 
ment by the aid of his comrades, and succeeded in reach- 
ing the hospital, where he fell exhausted and almost life- 
less on the floor, saying, "The old flag never touched the 
ground, boys. 7 ' Capt. Lewis F. Emilio, the junior cap- 
tain, — all of his superiors having been killed or wounded, 
— took command, and brought the regiment into camp. 
In this battle, the total loss in officers and men, killed 
and wounded, was two hundred and sixty-one. 

When John Brown was led out of the Charlestown 
jail, on his way to execution, he paused a moment, it will 
be remembered, in the passage-way, and, taking a little 
colored child in his arms, kissed and blessed it. The 
dying blessing of the martyr will descend from genera- 
tion to generation ; and a whole race will cherish for 
ages the memory of that simple caress, which, degrading 
as it seemed to the slaveholders around him, was as sub- 
lime and as touching a lesson, and as sure to do its work 
in the world's history, as that of Him who said, " Suffer 
little children to come unto me." 

When inquiry was made at Port Wagner, under flag 
of truce, for the body of Col. Shaw of the Massachusetts 
Fifty-fourth, the answer was, " We have buried him with 
his niggers ! " It is the custom of savages to outrage 
the dead, and it was only natural that the natives of 
South Carolina should attempt to heap insult upon the 
remains of the brave young soldier ; but that wide grave 



202 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

on Morris Island will be to a whole race a holy sepul- 
chre. No more fitting burial-place, no grander obsequies, 
could have been given to him who cried, as he led that 
splendid charge, " On, my brave boys ! " than to give 
to him and to them one common grave. As they clus- 
tered around him in the fight : as they rallied always to 
the clear ring of his loved voice ; as they would have 
laid down their lives, each and all of them, to save his ; 
as they honored and reverenced him, and lavished on 
him all the strong affections of a warm-hearted and im- 
pulsive people : so when the fight was over, and he was 
found with the faithful dead piled up like a bulwark 
around him, the poor savages did the only one fitting 
thing to be done when they buried them together. 1 
Neither death nor the grave has divided the young 
martyr and hero from the race for which he died ; and a 
whole people will remember in the coming centuries, 
when its new part is to be played in the world's history, 
that " he was buried with his niggers ! " 

*' They buried him with his niggers ! " 

Together they fought and died. 
There was room for them all where they laid him 

(The grave was deep and wide), 
For his beauty and youth and valor, 

Their patience and love and pain ; 
And at the last day together 

They shall all be found again. 

" They buried him with his niggers ! " 

Earth holds no prouder grave : 
There is not a mausoleum 

In the world beyond the wave, 
That a nobler tale has hallowed, 

Or a purer glory crowned, 
Than the nameless trench where they buried 

The brave so faithful found. 



ASSAULT ON FORT WAGNER. 203 

" They buried him with his niggers ! " 

A wide grave should it be. 
They buried more in that shallow trench 

Than human eye could see. 
Ay : all the shames and sorrows 

Of more than a hundred years 
Lie under the weight of that Southern soil 

Despite those cruel sneers. 

" They buried him with his niggers ! " 

But the glorious souls set free 
Are leading the van of the army 

That fights for liberty. 
Brothers in death, in glory 

The same palm-branches bear ; 
And the crown is as bright o'er the sable brows 

As'over the golden hair. 

Only those who knew Col. Shaw can understand how 
fitting it seems, when the purpose of outrage is put aside 
and forgotten, that he should have been laid in a com- 
mon grave with his black soldiers. The relations be- 
tween colored troops and their officers — if these are 
good for any thing, and fit for their places — must need 
be, from the circumstances of the case, very close and 
peculiar. They were especially so with Col. Shaw and 
his regiment. His was one of those natures which at- 
tract first through the affections. Most gentle tempered, 
genial as a warm winter's sun, sympathetic, full of kind- 
liness, unselfish, unobtrusive, and gifted with a manly 
beauty and a noble bearing, he was sure to win the love, 
in a very marked degree, of men of a race peculiarly 
susceptible to influence from such traits of character as 
these. First, they loved him with a devotion which 
could hardly exist anywhere else than in the peculiar re- 
lation he held to them as commander of the first regi- 
ment of free colored men permitted to fling out a military 



204 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

banner in this country, — a banner that, so raised, meant 
to them so much ! But, then, came closer ties ; they 
found that this young man, with education and habits 
that would naturally lead him to choose a life. of ease, 
with wealth at his command, with peculiarly happy 
social relations (one most tender one just formed), 
accepted the position offered him in consideration of his 
soldierly as well as moral fitness, because he recognized 
a solemn duty to the black man ; because he was ready 
to throw down all that he had, all that he was, all that 
this world could give him, for the negro race ! Beneath 
that gentle and courtly bearing which so won upon the 
colored people of Boston when the Fifty-fourth was in 
camp, beneath that kindly but unswerving discipline of 
the commanding officer, beneath that stern but always 
cool and cheerful courage of the leader in the fight, was 
a clear and deep conviction of a duty to the blacks. He 
hoped to lead them, as one of the roads to social equality, 
to fight their way to true freedom ; and herein he saw his 
path of duty. Of the battle two days before that in 
which he fell, and in which his regiment, by their bravery, 
won the right to lead the attack on Port Wagner, he 
said, " I wanted my men to fight by the side of whites, 
and they have done it; v thinking of others, not of him- 
self: thinking of that great struggle for equality in which 
the race had now a chance to gain a step forward, and 
to which he was ready to devote his life. Could it have 
been for him to choose his last resting-place, he would, 
no doubt, have said, " Bury me with my men if I earn 
that distinction." 

Buried with a band of brothers 

Who for him would fain have died ; 
Buried with the gallant fellows 

Who fell fighting by his side ; 



ASSAULT ON FORT WAONER. 205 

Buried with the men God gave him, 

Those whom he was sent to save ; 
Buried with the martyred heroes, 

He has found an honored grave. 

Buried where his dust so precious 

Makes the soil a hallowed spot ; 
Buried where, by Christian patriot, 

He shall never be forgot ; 

Buried in the ground accursed, 

Which man's fettered feet have trod ; 

Buried where his voice still speaketh, 
Appealing for the slave to God ; 

Fare thee well, thou noble warrior, 

Who in youthful beauty went 
On a high and holy mission, 

By the God of battles sent. 

Chosen of Him, " elect and precious/' 

Well didst thou fulfil thy part : 
When thy country " counts her jewels," 

She shall wear thee on her heart. 

One who was present, speaking of the incidents be- 
fore the battle, says of Col. Shaw, — 

" The last day with us, or, I may say, the ending of it, 
as we lay flat on the ground before the assault, his man- 
ner was more unbending than I had ever noticed before 
in the presence of his men. He sat on the ground, and was 
talking to the men very familiarly and kindly. He told 
them how the eyes of thousands would look upon the 
night's work they were about to enter on ; and he said, 
1 Now, boys, I want you to be men ! ' He would walk 
along the line, and speak words of cheer to his men. 

" We could see that he was a man who had counted the 
cost of the undertaking before him ; for his words were 
spoken ominously, his lips were compressed, and now 



206 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

and then there was visible a slight twitching of the 
corners of the mouth, like one bent on accomplishing 
or dying. One poor fellow, struck no doubt by the 
colonel's determined bearing, exclaimed, as he was pass- 
ing him, ' Colonel, I will stay by you till I die ; ' and he 
kept his word : he has never been seen since. For 
one so young, Col. Shaw showed a well-trained mind, 
and an ability of governing men not possessed by many 
older or more experienced men. In him the regiment 
has lost one of its best and most devoted friends. Col. 
Shaw was only about twenty-seven years of age, and 
was married a few weeks before he joined the army of 
the South." 

The following correspondence between the father of 
Col. Shaw and Gen. Gillmore needs no comment, but is 
characteristic of the family : — 

" Brig.- Gen. Gillmore, commanding Department of the South. 

" Sir, — I take the liberty to address you, because I am 
informed that efforts are to be made to recover the body 
of my son, Col. Shaw, of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts 
Regiment, which was buried at Fort Wagner. My object 
in writing is to say that such efforts are not authorized 
by me, or any of my family, and that they are not 
approved by us. We hold that a soldier's most appro- 
priate burial-place is on the field where he has fallen. 
I shall, therefore, be much obliged, general, if, in case 
the matter is brought to your cognizance, you will forbid 
the desecration of my son's grave, and prevent the dis- 
turbance of his remains or of those buried with him. 
With most earnest wishes for your success, I am, sir, 
with respect and esteem, 

" Your most obedient servant, 

" FRANCIS GEORGE SHAW. 
H New York, Aug. 24, 1863." 



ASSAULT ON FORT WAGNER. 207 

"Headquarters Department of the South, 

Morris Island, S.C., Sept. 5, 1863. 

" F. G. Shaw, Esq., Clifton, Staten Island, N. Y. 

11 Sir, — I have just received your letter, expressing 
the disapprobation of yourself and family of any effort 
to recover the body of your son, the late Col. Shaw, of 
the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, buried in Fort 
Wagner ; and requesting me to forbid the desecration of 
his grave or disturbance of his remains. 

" Had it been possible to obtain the body of Col. Shaw 
immediately after the battle in which he lost his life, I 
should have sent it to his friends, in deference to a sen- 
timent which I know to be widely prevalent among the 
friends of those who fell in battle, although the practice 
is one to which my own judgment has never yielded 
assent. 

" The views expressed in your letter are so congenial 
to the feelings of an officer, as to command not only my 
cordial sympathy, but my respect and admiration. 
Surely no resting-place for your son could be found 
more fitting than the scene where his courage and devo- 
tion were so conspicuously displayed. 

" I beg to avail myself of this opportunity to express 
my deep sympathy for yourself and family in their great 
bereavement, and to assure you that on no authority 
less than your own shall your son's remains be dis- 
turbed. 

" Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

" Q. A. GILLMORE, 
" Brigadier- General commanding." 

The following address of the Military Governor of 
South Carolina to the people of color in the Department 
of the South pays a fit tribute to the memory of the 
lamented Col. Shaw : — 



208 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

" Beaufort, S.C., July 27, 1863. 
" To the Colored Soldiers and Freedmen in this Department. 

"It is fitting that you should pay a last tribute of 
respect to the memory of the late Col. Robert Gould 
Shaw, Colonel of the Fifty-fourth Regiment of Massachu- 
setts Volunteers. He commanded the first regiment 
of colored soldiers from a free State ever mustered into 
the United-States service. 

u He fell at the head of his regiment, while leading a 
storming-party against a rebel stronghold. You should 
cherish in your inmost hearts the memory of one who 
did not hesitate, to sacrifice all the attractions of a high 
social position, wealth and home, and his own noble life, 
for the sake of humanity ; another martyr to your cause 
that death has added ; still another hope for your race. 
The truths and principles for which he fought and died 
still live, and will be vindicated. On the spot where he 
fell, by the ditch into which his mangled and bleeding 
body was thrown, on the soil of South Carolina, I trust 
that you will honor yourselves and his glorious memory 
by appropriating the first proceeds of your labor as free 
men toward erecting an enduring monument to the hero, 
soldier, martyr, Robert Gould Shaw. 

"R. SAXTON, 

tl Brigadier- General and Military Governor." 

We are glad to be able to say, that the noble propo- 
sition of Gen. Saxton met with success. 

Col. Shaw was singularly fortunate in being sur- 
rounded by officers, like himself, young, brave, and 
enthusiastic. Major Hallowell, the next in command, 
was wounded while urging forward his men. Adjutant 
G. W. James, Capts. S. Willard, J. W. M. Appleton, E. L. 



ASSAULT ON FORT WAGNEE. 209 

Jones, G-. Pope, W. H. Simpkins, C. J. Russell, and C. 
E. Tucker, and Lieuts. 0. E. Smith, W. H. Homan, R. H. 
Jewett, and J. A. Pratt, — were severely wounded. A 
large proportion of the non-commissioned officers fell in 
the engagement or were badly wounded. Among these 
was Sergt. R. J. Simmons, a young man of more than 
ordinary ability, who had learned the science of war in 
the British army. The writer enlisted him in the city of 
New York, and introduced him to Francis George Shaw, 
Esq., who remarked at the time that Simmons would 
make " a valuable soldier." Col. Shaw, also, had a high 
opinion of him. He died of his wounds in the enemy's 
hospital at Charleston, from bad treatment. The heroic 
act of Sergt. Carney, to which we have already alluded, 
called forth the following correspondence, which needs 
no comments, from the Adjutant-General's Report of 
the State of Massachusetts for the year 1865 : — 



" New York, 596 Broadway, Room 10, 
Dec. 13, 1865. 



u 



To Adjutant- General of Massachusetts, Boston, 
" Sir, — Will you be pleased to give me the name of 
some officer of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts colored 
regiment, so that I can obtain information concerning 
the famous assault that regiment made on Port Wagner? 
I wish to learn the facts relating to the wounded color- 
bearer, who, though wounded severely, bore the flag 
heroically while crawling from the parapet to his retreat- 
ing or repulsed regiment. It would make a splendid 
subject for a statuette. 

" Respectfully, 

" T. H. BARTLETT, 

" Sculptor." 
14 



210 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

I immediately forwarded the letter to Col. Hallowell, 
with a request that he would furnish me with all the 
facts relating to the incident which he possessed. The 
following is Col. HallowelPs reply : — 

" Boston, Dec. 18, 1865. 
" William Schouler, Adjutant- General. 

" Dear Sir, — Your letter of the 15th to my brother, 
enclosing one from Mr. Bartlett, and requesting me to 
furnish a statement of facts relating to Sergt. Carney, 
of the Fifty-fourth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, 
is received. The following statement is, to the best of my 
knowledge and belief, correct ; but you must remember it 
is made up principally from hearsay, no one person hav- 
ing seen every incident, except the sergeant. During the 
assault upon Fort Wagner, July 18, 1863, the sergeant 
carrying the national colors of the Fifty-fourth Massachu- 
setts Volunteers fell ; but, before the colors reached the 
ground, Sergt. Carney, of Company C, grasped them, 
and bore them to the parapet of the fort ; where he 
received wounds in both legs, in the breast, and in the 
right arm : he, however, refused to give up his trust. 
When the regiment retired from the fort, Sergt. Carney, 
by the aid of his comrades, succeeded in reaching the 
hospital, still holding on to the flag, where he fell, ex- 
hausted and almost lifeless, on the floor, saying, ' The 
old flag never touched the ground, boys. ? At the time 
the above happened, I was not in a condition to verify 
the truth of the statements made to me ; but they come 
to me from very reliable parties, and from very different 
people ; so, after a close cross-examination of the ser- 
geant (who was known as a truthful man), I have con- 
cluded that the statement I have made is substantially 
correct. 



ASSAULT ON FORT WAGNER. 211 

" Sergt. Carney was an African, of, I should think, full 
blood ; of very limited education, but very intelligent ; 
bright face, lips and nose (comparatively) finely cut, 
head rather round, skin very dark, height about five 
feet eight inches, not very athletic or muscular; had 
lived in New Bedford, Mass., for many years. Hoping 
this will be of service to Mr. Bartlett, I have the honor 
to be, very respectfully, 

" Your obedient servant, 

" E. N. HALLOWELL, 

" Late Colonel, tfc." 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

THE SLAVE-MARTYR. 

The Siege of Washington, N.C. — Big Bob, the Negro Scout. — The Peri- 
lous Adventure. — The Fight. — Return. — Night Expedition. — The 
Fatal Sandbar. — The Enemy's Shells. — " Somebody's got to die to 
get us out of this, and it may as well be me." — Death of Bob. — 
Safety of the Boat. 

The siege of Washington, N.C, had carried conster- 
nation among the planters of the surrounding country, 
and contrabands were flocking in by hundreds, when, 
just at day-break one morning, a band of seventeen 
came to the shore, and hailed the nearest gunboat. The 
blacks were soon taken on board, when it was ascer- 
tained that they had travelled fifty miles the previous 
night, guided by their leader, a negro whom, they called 
" Big Bob." This man was without a drop of Anglo- 
Saxon blood in his veins, if color was a true index. It 
was also soon known that he was a preacher, or had 
been, among his fellow-slaves. These men all expressed 
a desire to be put to work, and, if allowed, to fight for 
" de ole flag." " Big Bob " sported a suit of rebel gray, 
which his fellow-slaves could not ; and the way in which 
he obtained it was rather amusing. In the region from 
which they escaped, the blacks were being enrolled in 
the rebel army ; and Bob and his companions were taken, 
and put under guard, preparatory to their being re- 
moved to the nearest military post. Bob, however, 
212 



THE SLAVE-MARTYR. 213 

resolved that he would not fight for the rebel cause, 
and induced his comrades to join in the plan of seizing 
the guard, and bringing him away with them ; which they 
did, Bob claiming the rebel soldier's clothes, when that 
individual was dismissed, after a march of thirty miles 
from their home. Bob made an amusing appearance, 
being above six feet in height, and dressed in a suit, the 
legs of the pants of which were five' or six inches too 
short, and the arms of the coat proportionally short. 

A few days after the arrival of the contrabands, their 
services were needed in an important expedition in the 
interior. These negroes, upon being told what was 
wanted of them, although knowing that the enterprise 
would be attended with the greatest danger, and would 
require the utmost skill, volunteered their services, and, 
upon being furnished with arms and implements, imme- 
diately started upon the expedition. Being landed upon 
a point some little distance from Washington, they suc- 
ceeded in penetrating the enemy's country, arresting 
three very important rebels, and conveying them to the 
fleet. In the return march, the rebels complained at their 
being made to walk so far and so fast ; but Bob, the cap- 
tain of the company, would occasionally be heard urging 
them along after this style : " March along dar, massa ; 
no straggling to de rear : come, close up dar, close up 
dar ! we're boss dis time." On the arrival of the party, 
the blacks were highly complimented by the com- 
mander. 

A week had scarcely passed, and the slaves rested, 
before they were sent upon a more difficult and dan- 
gerous expedition ; yet these men, with Bob to lead 
them, were ready for any enterprise, provided they 
could have arms and ammunition. Once more landed 



214 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

on shore, they started with a determination to accom- 
plish the object for which they had been sent. They 
had not gone far before they were attacked by a scout- 
ing-party from the rebel camp, and four of the whites 
and one of the blacks were killed: one also of the latter 
was wounded. However, the rebels were put to flight, 
and the negroes made good their escape. Still bent on 
obeying the orders of the commander, they took a some- 
what different route, and proceeded on their journey. 
Having finished their mission, which was the destroy- 
ing of two very large salt-works, breaking up fifty salt- 
kettles, a large tannery, and liberating twenty-three 
slaves, some of whom they armed with guns taken in 
their fight with the rebels, Bob commenced retracing 
his steps. The return was not so easily accomplished, 
for the enemy were well distributed on the line between 
them and the gunboats. After getting within four miles 
of the fleet, and near Point Rodman, a fight took place 
between the colored men and the rebels, which lasted 
nearly an hour. The blacks numbered less than forty ; 
while the whites were more than one hundred. The 
negroes were called upon to surrender; but Bob an- 
swered, " No, I never surrenders." And then he cried 
out, " Come on, boys ! ef we's captud, we's got to hang; 
and dat's a fack. And nobly did they fight, whip- 
ping their assailants, and reaching the gunboats with 
but the loss of three men killed and ten wounded. Bob 
and his companions were greatly praised when once 
more on the fleet. 

But Bob's days were numbered ; for the next day a 
flat full of soldiers, with four blacks, including Bob, at- 
tempted to land at Rodman's Point, but were repulsed 
by a terrible fire of rebel bullets, all tumbling into 



THE SLAVE-MARTYR. 215 

the boat, and lying flat to escape being shot. Mean- 
while the boat stuck fast on the sand-bar, while the balls 
were still whizzing over and around the flat. Seeing 
that Something must be done at once, or all would be 
lost, Big Bob exclaimed, " Somebody's got to die to 
get us out of this, and it may as well be me ! " He then 
deliberately got out, and pushed the boat of, and fell 
into it, pierced by five bullets. 

" The surf with ricochetting balls 

Was churned and splashed around us : 
I heard my comrades' hurried calls, 
1 The rebel guns have found us.' 

Our vessel shivered ! Far beneath 
The treacherous sand had caught her . 

What man will leap to instant death 
To shove her into water ? 

Strange light shone in our hero's eye ; 
His voice was strong and steady : 
' My brothers, one of us must die ; 
And I, thank God ! am ready.' 

A shell flew toward us, hissing hate, 

Then screaming like a demon : 
He calmly faced the awful fate, 

Resolved to die a freeman. 

He fell, his heart cut through with shot : 

The true blood of that martyr 
Out from his body spurted hot 

To flee the shame of barter. 

We lifted up the brave man's corse ; 

We thought him fair and saintly : 
The rebel bullets round us hoarse 

We heard, but dull and faintly. 



216 



THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION, 



' Tis ever so : a great deed wrought, 
The doer falls that moment, 

As if to save the God-like thought 
From any human comment. 



Heroes are dead men by that fact ; 

Tame haunts our grave-yards, sighing, 
€ Alas ! that man's divinest act 

Should be the act of dying/ " 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

BATTLE OF OLUSTEE, FLORIDA. 

The Union Troops decoyed into a Swamp. — They are outnumbered. — 
Their great Bravery. — The Heroism of the Eifty-fourth Massachu- 
setts. — Death of Col. Fribley. 

The battle of Olustee was fought in a swamp situ- 
ated thirty-five miles west of Jacksonville, and four 
miles from Sanderson, in the State of Florida. The ex- 
pedition was under the immediate command of Gen. C. 
Seymour, and consisted of the Seventh New Hampshire, 
Seventh Connecticut (armed with Spencer rifles, which 
fire eight times without loading), Eighth United-States 
(colored) Battery, Third United-States Artillery, Fifty- 
fourth Massachusetts (colored), and First North-Carolina 
(colored). The command having rested on the night 
of the 19th of February, 1864, at Barbour's Ford, on 
the St. Mary's River, took up its line of march on 
the morning of the 20th, and proceeded to Sander- 
son, nine miles to the west, which was reached at one 
o'clock, p.m., without interruption ; but, about three miles 
beyond, the advance drove in the enemy's pickets. The 
Seventh Connecticut, being deployed as skirmishers, 
fell in with the enemy's force in the swamp, strength- 
ened still more by rifle-pits. Here they were met by 
cannon and musketry ; but our troops, with their Spen- 
cer rifles, played great havoc with the enemy, making 
an attempt to take one of his pieces of artillery, but 

217 



218 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

failed. However, they held their ground nobly foi 
three-quarters of an hour, and were just about retiring 
as the main body of our troops came up. 

The Eighth (colored), which had never been in battle, 
and which had been recruited but a few weeks, came 
up and filed to the right, when they met with a most 
terrific shower of musketry and shell. Gen. Seymour 
now came up, and pointing in front, towards the railroad, 
said to Col. Fribley, commander of the Eighth, " Take 
your regiment in there," — a place which was sufficiently 
hot to make the oldest and most field-worn veterans 
tremble ; and yet these men, who had never heard the 
sound of a cannon before, rushed in where they com- 
menced dropping like grass before the sickle : still on 
they went without faltering, until they came within 
two hundred yards of the enemy's strongest works. 
Here these brave men stood for nearly three hours 
before a terrible fire, closing up as their ranks were 
thinned out, fire in front, on their flank, and in the rear, 
without flinching or breaking. 

Col. Fribley, seeing that it was impossible to hold the 
position, passed along the lines to tell the officers to fire, 
and fall back gradually, and was shot before he reached 
the end. He was shot in the chest, told the men to 
carry him to the rear, and expired in a very few min- 
utes. Major Burritt took command, but was also wound- 
ed in a short time. At this time Capt. Hamilton's bat- 
tery became endangered, and he cried out to our men 
for God's sake to save his battery. Our United-States 
flag, after three sergeants had forfeited their lives by 
bearing it during the fight, was planted on the battery 
by Lieut. Elijah Lewis, and the men rallied around it ; 
but the guns had been jammed up so indiscriminately, 



BATTLE OF OLUSTEE. 219 

and so close to the enemy's lines, that the gunners were 
shot down as fast as they made their appearance ; and 
the horses, whilst they were wheeling the pieces into 
position, shared the same fate. They were compelled 
to leave the battery, and failed to bring the flag away. 
The battery fell into the enemy's hands. During the 
excitement, Capt. Bailey took command, and brought out 
the regiment in good order. Sergt. Taylor, Company 
D, who carried the battle-flag, had his right hand nearly 
shot off, but grasped the colors with the left hand, and 
brought them out. 

The Seventh New Hampshire was posted on both 
sides of the wagon-road, and broke, but soon rallied, and 
did good execution.* The line was probably one mile 
long, and all along the fighting was terrific. 

Our artillery, where it could be worked, made dread- 
ful havoc on the enemy ; whilst the enemy did us but 
very little injury with his, with the exception of one 
gun, a sixty-four pound swivel, fixed on a truck-car on 
the railroad, which fired grape and canister. On the 
whole, their artillery was very harmless ; but their mus- 
ketry fearful. 

Up to this time, neither the First North Carolina nor 
the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts had taken any part in the 
fight, as they were in the rear some distance. How- 
ever, they heard the roar of battle, and were hastening to 
the field, when they were met by an aide, who came riding 
up to the colonel of the Fifty-fourth, saying, " For God's 
sake, colonel, double-quick, or the day is lost ! " Of all 
the regiments, every one seemed to look to the Fifty- 
fourth Massachusetts with the most dependence on the 
field of battle. This regiment was under the command 
of Col. E. N. Hallowell, who fell wounded by the side 



220 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

of Col. Shaw, at Fort Wagner, and who, since his recov- 
ery, had been in several engagements, in all of which 
he had shown himself an excellent officer, and had 
gained the entire confidence of his men, who were will- 
ing to follow him wherever he chose to lead. When the 
aide met these two regiments, he found them hastening 
on. 

The First North Carolina was in light marching 
order ; the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts was in heavy 
marching order, with knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, 
and every other appurtenance of the soldier. But off 
went every thing, and they double-quicked on to the 
field. At the most critical juncture, just as the rebels 
were preparing for a simultaneous charge along the 
whole line, and they had captured our artillery and 
turned it upon us, Col. James Montgomery, Col. Hallo- 
well, and Lieut.-Col. Hooper formed our line of battle 
on right by file into line. 

The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts went in first, with a 
cheer. They were followed by the First North Carolina 
(colored). Lieut.-Col. Reed, in command, headed the 
regiment, sword in hand, and charged upon the rebels. 
They broke when within twenty yards of contact with 
our negro troops. Overpowered by numbers, the First 
North Carolina fell back in good order, and poured in a 
destructive fire. Their colonel fell, mortally wounded. 
Major Bogle fell wounded, and two men were "killed 
in trying to reach his body. The Adjutant, William 
C. Manning, wounded before at Malvern Hills, got 
a bullet in his body, but persisted in remaining un- 
til another shot struck him. His lieutenant-colonel, 
learning the fact, embraced him, and implored him to 
leave the field. The next moment the two friends were 



BATTLE OF OLUSTEE. 221 

stretched side by side : the colonel had received his 
own death-wound. But the two colored regiments had 
stood in the gap, and saved the army! The Fifty-fourth 
Massachusetts, which, with the First North Carolina, may 
be truly said to have saved the forces from utter route, 
lost eighty men. 

There were three color-sergeants shot down : the 
last one was shot three times before he relinquished the 
flag of his country. His name was Samuel C. Waters, 
Company C, and his body sleeps where he fell. The 
battle-flag carried by Sergt. Taylor was borne through 
the fight with the left hand, after the right one was 
nearly shot off. The rebels fired into the place where 
the wounded were being attended to ; and their cavalry 
was about making a charge on it just as the Fifty-fourth 
Massachusetts appeared on the field, when they retired. 

Had Col. Hallowell not seen at a glance the situation 
of affairs, the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers 
would have been killed or captured. When they en 
tered the field with the First North Carolina, which is a 
brave regiment, they (the First North Carolina) fired 
well while they remained ; but they gave way, thus ex- 
posing the right. On the left, the rebel cavalry were 
posted ; and, as the enemy's left advanced on our right, 
their cavalry pressed the left. Both flanks were thus 
being folded up, and slaughter or capture would have 
been the inevitable result. We fell back in good order, 
and established new lines of battle, until we reached 
Sanderson. Here a scene that beggars description was 
presented. Wounded men lined the railroad station ; 
and the roads were filled with artillery, caissons, ammu- 
nition and baggage-wagons, infantry, cavalry, and ambu- 
lances. The only organized bodies ready to repel at- 



222 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

tack were a portion of the Fortieth Massachusetts 
Mounted Infantry, armed with the Spencer repeating- 
rifle, the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, and the 
Seventh Connecticut, commanded by Col. Hawley, now 
governor of Connecticut. 

An occurrence of thrilling interest took place during 
the battle, which I must not omit to mention : it was 
this : — 

Col. Hallowell ordered the color-line to be advanced 
one hundred and fifty paces. Three of the colored cor- 
porals, Pease, Palmer, and Glasgow, being wounded, and 
the accomplished Goodin killed, there were four only 
left, — Wilkins the acting sergeant, Helman and Lenox. 
The colors were perforated with bullets, and the staff 
was struck near the grasp of the sergeant; but the color- 
guard marched steadily out, one hundred and fifty paces 
to the front, with heads erect and square to the front; 
and the battalion rallied around it, and fought such a 
fight as made Col. Hallowell shout with very joy, and 
the men themselves to ring out defiant cheers which 
made the pines and marshes of Ocean Pond echo 
again. 

The attachment which the colored men form for their 
officers is very great, often amounting to self-sacrifice. 
Thus when Major Bogle fell wounded, one of his sol- 
diers sprang forward to rescue him, and bear him to the 
rear. At that instant a rebel sergeant fired, and wounded 
the black man in the shoulder. This, however, did not 
force him to relinquish his purpose, but appeared to add 
to his determination ; and he had his arms around the 
wounded officer, when a second ball passed through the 
soldier's head, and he fell and expired on the body of 
his superior, who was taken prisoner by the enemy. 



BATTLE OF OLUSTEE. 223 

Although these colored men had never been paid off, 
and their families at home were in want, they were as 
obedient and fought as bravely as the white troops, 
whose pockets contained " greenbacks/' and whose 
wives and children were provided for. 

The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts went into the battle 
with " Three cheers for Massachusetts, and seven dollars 
a month." 

It is well known that the general in command came to 
the colonel and said, " The day is lost : you must do what 
you can to save the army from destruction." And nobly 
did they obey him. They fired their guns till their am- 
munition was exhausted, and then stood with fixed bayo- 
nets till the broken columns had time to retreat, and 
though once entirely outflanked, the enemy getting 
sixty yards in their rear, their undaunted front and loud 
cheering caused the enemy to pause, and allowed them 
time to change front. They occupied the position as 
rear guard all the way back to Jacksonville ; and, where- 
ever was the post of danger, there was the Fifty-fourth 
to be found. 

When the forces arrived at Jacksonville, they there 
learned that the train containing the wounded was at Ten- 
Mile Station, where it had been left, owing to the break- 
ing down of the engine. The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts, 
fatigued and worn out as it was, was despatched at once,- 
late at night, to the assistance of the disabled train. Ar- 
riving at Ten-Mile Station, they found that the only way 
to bring the wounded with them was to attach ropes to 
the cars, and let the men act as motive power. Thus 
the whole train of cars containing the wounded from the 
battle of Olustee was dragged a distance of ten miles by 
that brave colored regiment. All accounts give the ne- 



224 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

groes great praise for gallantry displayed at this battle. 
Even the correspondent of " The New- York Herald " 
gives this emphatic testimony : " The First North Caro- 
lina and the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts, of the colored 
troops, did admirably. The First North Carolina held 
the positions it ivas placed in with the greatest tenacity, 
and inflicted heavy loss on the enemy. It was cool and, 
steady, and never flinched for a moment. The Fifty- 
fourth sustained the reputation they had gained at Wag- 
ner, and bore themselves like soldiers throughout the battle." 

A letter from Beaufort, dated Feb. 26, from a gentle- 
man who accompanied Gen. Seymour's expedition, has 
the following passage relative to the conduct of the 
Fifty-fourth in the repulse in Florida : — 

" A word about the terrible defeat in Florida. We 
have been driven from Lake City to within seven miles 
of Jacksonville, — fifty-three miles. The rebels allowed 
us to penetrate, and then, with ten to our one, cut us off', 
meaning to i bag ' us ; and, had it not been for the glori- 
ous Fifty fourth Massachusetts, the whole brigade would 
have been captured or annihilated. This was the only 
regiment that rallied, broke the rebel ranks, and saved 
us. The Eighth United- States (colored') lost their flag 
twice y and the Fifty -fourth recaptured it each time. They 
had lost, in killed and missing, about three hundred and 
fifty. They would not retreat when ordered, but charged 
with the most fearful desperation, driving the enemy 
before them, and turning their left flank. If this regi- 
ment has not won glory enough to have shoulder-straps, 
where is there one that ever did ? " 



CHAPTER XXX. 

BATTLE OF POISON SPRINGS, ARKANSAS. 

Hard-fought Battle. — Bravery of the Kansas Colored Troops. — They 
die but will not yield. — Outnumbered by the Rebels. — Another severa 
Battle. — The heroic Negro, after being wounded, fights till he dies. 

The battle of Poison Springs, Ark., between one 
thousand Union and eight thousand rebel troops, was 
one of the most severe conflicts of the war. Six hun- 
dred of the Union forces were colored, and from Kansas, 
some of them having served under old John Brown dur- 
ing the great struggle in that territory. These black 
men, as it will be seen, bore the brunt of the fight, and 
never did men show more determined bravery than was 
exhibited on this occasion. They went into the battle 
singing the following characteristic song: — 

" Old John Brown's body lies a mouldering in the grave, 
While weep the sons of bondage, whom he ventured to save ; 
But though he lost his life in struggling for the slave, 
His soul is marching on. 
Glory, glory, Hallelujah ! 
Glory, glory, Hallelujah ! 
Glory, glory, Hallelujah ! 
His soul is marching on ! 

John Brown was a hero, undaunted, true, and brave, 
And Kansas knew his valor, when he fought her rights to save ; 
And now, though the grass grows green above his grave, 
His soul is marching on. 
15 225 



226 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

He captured Harper's Ferry with his nineteen men so few, 
And he frightened ' Old Virginny ' till she trembled through and through : 
They hung him for a traitor, themselves a traitor crew, 
For his soul is marching on, &c. 

John Brown was John the Baptist, of the Christ we are to see, — 
Christ, who of the bondman shall the Liberator be ; 
And soon throughout the sunny South the slaves shall all be free, 
For his soul is marching on, &c. 

The conflict that he heralded, he looks from heaven to view, 
On the army of the Union, with its flag, red, white, and blue ; 
And heaven shall ring with anthems o'er the deed they mean to do, 
For his soul is marching on, &e. 

Ye soldiers of freedom then strike, while strike ye may, 
The death-blow of oppression in a better time and way ; 
For the dawn of old John Brown has brightened into day, 
And his soul is marching on. 
Glory, glory, Hallelujah ! 
Glory, glory, Hallelujah ! 
Glory, glory, Hallelujah ! 
And his soul is marching on." 

The following graphic description of the battle will be 
read with thrilling interest : — 

"Official Report of Major Richard G. Ward, commanding 

First Kansas Colored Regiment at the battle of Poison 

Springs. 

" Headquarters First Kansas Colored Vols., 
Camden, Ark., April 20, 1864. 

"Col. J. M. Williams, commanding Escort to Forage-train. 

" Colonel, — In conformity with the requirements of 
the circular issued by you, April 19, 1864, I submit the 
following report of the conduct of that portion of the es- 
cort which I had the honor to command, and of the part 
taken by them in the action of the 18th inst : — 



BATTLE OF POISON SPRINGS. 227 

" I marched from the camp on White-Oak Creek, with 
the six companies left with me as rear-guard, about seven 
o'clock, a.m. When I arrived at the junction of the 
Washington Road, I found the Eighteenth Iowa Infantry 
and a detachment of cavalry waiting to relieve me as 
rear-guard. At this moment I received your order to 
press forward to the front, as your advance was skir- 
mishing with the enemy. Upon arriving, agreeably to 
your order, I placed one wing of this regiment on each 
side of the section of Rabb's Battery, to support it, and 
awaited further developments. 

" After your cavalry had ascertained the position of the 
enemy's force on our right flank, and Lieut. Haines had 
planted one of his pieces in a favorable position, I placed 
Companies A, B, E, and H in position to support it. We 
had hardly got into position here, before our cavalry 
were forced back upon our line by an overwhelming 
force of the enemy, Lieut. Henderson, commanding de- 
tachment Sixth Kansas (than whom a braver officer 
never existed), was severely wounded, and I ordered 
Corp. Wallahan, Company M, Sixth Kansas, to form his 
men on my right. He had scarcely formed them, ere 
Lieut. Mitchell, commanding detachment Second Kansas 
Cavalry, was also driven in, when he was placed upon the 
extreme right under your personal supervision. 

u The line of battle was now nearly in the form of the 
segment of a circle, the convex side being outward, or 
toward the enemy. Companies C and I being on the 
north side of the road facing toward the east ; Companies 
D and F on the south side of the road, facing in the same 
direction, whilst on my extreme right the men were 
drawn up in line facing due south. It was now about 
half past eleven o'clock, a.m. These dispositions were 



228 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

scarcely made ere the enemy opened a severe and well- 
directed fire from a six-gun battery, at the distance of 
about one thousand yards. This battery was near the 
road, due east of our line. At the same time a howitzer 
battery, reported to me as having four guns, opened on 
the south opposite my right, at a distance of six or seven 
hundred yards. Although this was much the severest 
artillery fire that any of the men had ever before been 
subjected to, and many of the men were thus under fire 
for the first time, they were as cool as veterans, and pa- 
tiently awaited the onset of the enemy's infantry. 

" Just after twelve o'clock, the enemy's batteries slack- 
ened their fire, and their infantry advanced to the attack. 
From the position of the ground, it was useless to deliver 
a fire until the enemy were within one hundred yards. 
I therefore reserved my fire until their first line was 
Within that distance, when I gave the order to fire. For 
about a quarter of an hour, it seemed as though the ene- 
my were determined to break my lines, and capture the 
guns ; but their attempts were fruitless, and they were 
compelled to fall precipitately back, not, however, before 
they had disabled more than half of the gunners belong- 
ing to the gun on the right. 

\ l Again they opened their infernal cross-fires with their 
batteries, and through the smoke I could see them mass- 
ing their infantry for another attack. I immediately ap- 
plied to you for more men. 

" Companies G- and K were sent me. I placed Company 
K upon the extreme right (where the cavalry had rested, 
but which had now retired), and Company G upon the 
left of Company B. Shortly after these dispositions were 
made, the enemy again advanced, this time in two col- 
umns yelling like fiends. Lieut. Macy, of Company C, 



BATTLE OF POISON SPRINGS. 229 

whom you had sent out with skirmishers from the left, 
was driven in ; and I placed him, with his small command, 
between Companies G and B. At this moment, yourself 
and Lieut. Haines arrived on the right, and I reported 
to you the condition of the gun, only two men being left 
to man it, when you ordered it to the rear. Just as the 
boys were preparing to limber, a large body of the ene- 
my was observed making for the gun in close column, 
whereupon private Alonzo Hendshaw, of the Second In- 
diana Battery, himself double-loaded the piece with can- 
ister, and poured into the advancing column a parting 
salute at the distance of about three hundred yards, and 
then limbered. The effect was terrific. Our infantry 
redoubled their fire, and again the massed columns sul- 
lenly retired. 

" Three different times the enemy were thus repulsed ; 
and, as they were massing for the fourth charge, I in- 
formed you that I believed it would be impossible to 
hold my position without more men on my right and 
centre. You replied that I should have them if they could 
be spared from other points. I held my position until 
you returned ; when, seeing your horse fall, I gave you 
mine for the purpose of going to the Eighteenth Iowa to 
form them in a favorable position for my line to fall back 
upon. Agreeably to your order to hold the ground at 
any and all events until this could be done, I encour- 
aged the men to renew their exertions, and repel the 
coming charge, intending, if I succeeded, to take that 
opportunity of falling back, instead of being compelled 
to do so under fire. My right succeeded in checking the 
advance ; but, my left being outflanked at the same time 
that my left-centre was sustaining the attack of ten 
times their number, I ordered to fall back slowly toward 



230 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

the train, changing front toward the left, to prevent the 
enemy from coming up in my rear. We here made a 
stand of about ten minutes, when I perceived that the 
enemy had succeeded in flanking my extreme right, and 
that I was placed in a position to receive a cross-fire 
from their two lines. I was then compelled, in order to 
save even a fragment of the gallant regiment which for 
nearly two hours had, unaided, sustained itself against 
Price's whole army, to order a retreat. 

" Although a portion retired precipitately, the greater 
portion of them kept up a continued fire the whole 
length of the train. I ordered the men to retire behind 
the line of the Iowa Eighteenth, and form ; but, alas ! 
four companies had lost their gallant commanders, and 
were without an officer. By your aid, and the assistance 
of the few unharmed officers, I succeeded in collecting 
a few of the command, and placing them on the left of 
the Iowa Eighteenth. As they were slowly forced back- 
ward, others took position in the line, and did all that 
could be done to check the advance of the overwhelm- 
ing forces of the enemy. I sent a small force to assist 
Lieut. Haines in his gallant and manly efforts to save his 
guns ; and, had it not been for the worn condition of the 
horses, I believe he would have succeeded. Accompa- 
nying this, I send the reports of company commanders 
of the losses sustained by their respective companies. 
It will be noticed that the heavie'st punishment was in- 
flicted upon Company G-, from the fact that it was more 
exposed to the galling cross-fires of the enemy. 

" You will see that I went into action with about four 
hundred and fifty enlisted men, and thirteen officers of 
the line. Seven out of that gallant thirteen w T ere killed 
or wounded. Five are reported dead on the field : Capt. 



BATTLE OF POISON SPRINGS. 231 

A. J. Armstrong, Company D ; Lieut. B. Hitchcock, Com- 
pany G ; Lieuts. Charles J. Coleman and Joseph B. Sam- 
uels, Company H ; and Lieut. John Topping, Company 

B. The cheerful offering of the lives of such noble men 
needs not the assistance of any studied panegyric to 
bespeak for it that spirit of lasting admiration with 
which their memories will ever be enshrined. 

" Pour companies fought their way to the rear, without 
a commissioned officer. One hundred and thirteen men are 
killed, and sixty-nine wounded, — some of them mortally. 
I cannot refrain from mentioning the names of Capt. B. W. 
Welch, Company K, and Lieut. E. Q. Macy, Company 

C. both of whom were wounded, as among the number 
of sufferers who have earned the thanks and merit the 
sympathy of the loyal and generous everywhere. Any 
attempt to mention the names of any soldier in particu- 
lar would be unjust, unless I mentioned all ; for every 
one, as far as I could see, did his duty coolly, nobly, and 
bravely. On the right, where the enemy made so many 
repeated attempts to break my line, I saw officers and 
men engaged in taking the cartridges from the bodies of 
the dead ; and, upon inquiring, found that their ammu- 
nition was nearly expended. 

" The brave and soldier-like Topping was killed in the 
first charge ; and the gallant young Coleman, command- 
ing Company H, was shot down in the second charge. 
At what particular period of the engagement the other 
officers fell, I am unable to state. To Capt. John R. 
Gratton, Company C ; Capt. William H. Smallwood, Com- 
pany G ; Lieut. R. L. Harris, Company I : Lieut. B. G. 
Jones, Company A ; Lieut. John Overdier, Company E; 
Lieut. S. S. Crepps, Company P; and Adjutant William 
C. Gibbons, I would tender my heartfelt thanks, for the 



232 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

faithful, efficient, and manly performance of the most 
arduous duties, while subjected to the hottest fire. 

" The loss in arms and clothing is quite serious ; but, 
from the exhausted state of the men, it is strange that 
as many of them brought in their arms and accoutre- 
ments as did. Out of seventy-eight hours preceding 
the action, sixty-three hours were spent by the entire 
command on duty, besides a heavy picket-guard having 
been furnished for the remaining fifteen hours. You 
are also reminded that the rations were of necessity 
exceedingly short for more than a week previous to 
the battle. 

" We were obliged to bring our wounded away the best 
we could, as the rebels were seen shooting those who 
fell into their hands. The men who brought in the 
wounded were obliged to throw away their arms ; but 
the most who did so waited till they reached the swamps, 
and then sunk them in the bayous. 

" I am, colonel, very respectfully, 

" Your obedient servant, 

" R. G. WARD, 
" Major First Kansas Colored Volunteers." 

" Since this Report was published, official information 
has been received at Fort Smith, that Capt. Armstrong 
and Lieut. Hitchcock are prisoners of war in Arkansas, 
and not killed as reported. 

" Yours, 

"J. BOWLES, 
" Lieutenant- Colonel First Kansas Volunteers." 

Eight days later, the same colored regiment had a 
fight with a superior force in numbers of the rebels ; 
and the subjoined account of the engagement will show 
with what determination they fought. 



BATTLE OF POISON SPRING. 233 

" On the 29th, we skirmished in the forenoon. In 
the afternoon, the venturing-out of a detachment be- 
yond the distance ordered brought on a severe though 
short general engagement. At least one hundred and 
twenty of the rebel cavalry made a charge upon this 
detachment of twenty-four men. Before we could bring 
up re-enforcements, these fearfully disproportioned par- 
ties were engaged in a desperate hand-to-hand encoun- 
ter. I was on the field, doing, with the other officers, the 
best we could to bring up re-enforcements. There was 
no flinching, no hesitation, or trembling limbs among 
the men ; but fierce determination flashing in their 
eyes, and exhibiting an eager, passionate haste to aid 
their comrades, and vindicate the manhood of their race. 
The air was rent with their yells, as they rushed on, 
and the difficulty manifested was in holding them well 
in rather than in faltering. Among the detachment cut 
off, of whom only six escaped unhurt, nothing I have 
ever seen, read, or heard in the annals of war, sur- 
passes the desperate personal valor exhibited by each 
and every man. Bayonets came in bloody, as did the 
stocks of guns ; and the last charge was found gone from 
cartridge-boxes. 

" During the fight, one poor fellow received a mortal 
wound, but would not go to the rear. He told his 
officer that he could not live, but would die fighting for 
the flag of liberty ; and continued to load and discharge 
his rifle until he fell dead on the field of glory. 

" The ball had crushed a vital part, — 

He could not long survive; 
But, with a brave and loyal heart, 

For victory still would strive ; 



234 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

His rifle 'gainst the traitor foe 

With deadly aim would ply ; 
And, till his life-blood ceased to flow, 
\ Eight on for liberty. 

His skin was of the ebon hue, 

His heart was nobly brave : 
To country, flag, and freedom true, 

He would not live a slave. 



His rifle flashed, — a traitor falls : 

While death is in his eye, 
He bravely to his comrades calls, 

' Fight on for liberty ! ' 

He looked upon his bannered sign, 
He bowed his noble head, — 

' Farewell, beloved flag of mine ! ' — 
Then fell among the dead. 

His comrades will remember well 

The hero's battle-cry, 
As in the arms of death he fell, — 

' Fight on for liberty ! ' 

And still for liberty and laws 

His comrades will contend, 
Till victory crowns the righteous cause, 

And tyrant power shall end. 

Though low in earth the martyr lies, 

Still rings his battle-cry : 
From hill to hill the echo flies, — 

' Fight on for liberty ! ' " 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

THE MASSACEE AT FORT PILLOW. 

Assault and Capture of the Fort. — " No Quarter." — Rebel Atrocities . — « 
Gens. Forrest and Chalmers. — Firing upon Flags of Truce. — Murder 
of Men, Women, and Children. — Night after the Assault. — Buried 
Alive. — Morning after the Massacre. 

Nothing in the history of the Rebellion has equalled 
in inhumanity and atrocity the horrid butchery at Fort 
Pillow, Ky., on the 13th of April, 1864. In no other 
school than slavery could human beings have been 
trained to such readiness for cruelties like these. Ac- 
customed to brutality and bestiality all their lives, it 
was easy for them to perpetrate the atrocities which 
will startle the civilized foreign world, as they have 
awakened the indignation of our own people. 

We have gleaned the facts of the fight from authentic 
sources, and they may be relied upon as truthful. The 
rebels, under Forrest, appeared, and drove in the pickets 
about sunrise on Tuesday morning. The garrison of 
the fort consisted of about two hundred of the Thir- 
teenth Tennessee Volunteers, and four hundred negro 
artillery, all under command of Major Booth : the gun- 
boat " No. 7 " was also in the river. The rebels first 
attacked the outer forts, and, in several attempts to 
charge, were repulsed. They were constantly re-en- 
forced, and extended their lines to the river on both 
sides of the fort. The garrison in the two outer forts 

235 



236 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

was at length overpowered by superior numbers, and 
about noon evacuated them, and retired to the fort on 
the river. Here the fight was maintained with great 
obstinacy, and continued till about four, p.m. The 
approach to the fort from the rear is oyer a gentle 
declivity, cleared, and fully exposed to a raking fire 
from two sides of the fort. About thirty yards from 
the fort is a deep ravine, running all along the front, 
and so steep at the bottom as to be hidden from the fort, 
and not commanded by its guns. The rebels charged 
with great boldness down the declivity, and faced, with- 
out blanching, a murderous fire from the guns and small- 
arms of the fort, and crowded into the ravine ; where 
they were sheltered from fire by the steep bank, which 
had been thus left by some unaccountable neglect or 
ignorance. Here the rebels organized for a final charge 
upon the fort, after sending a flag of truce with a de- 
mand for surrender, which was refused. The approach 
from the ravine was up through a deep, narrow gully, 
and the steep embankments of the fort. The last charge 
was made about four, p.m., by the whole rebel force, and 
was successful after a most desperate and gallant de- 
fence. The rebel army was estimated at from two 
thousand to four thousand, and succeeded by mere 
force of numbers. The gunboat had not been idle, but, 
guided by signals from the fort, poured upon the rebels 
a constant stream of shot and shell. She fired two hun- 
dred and sixty shells, and, as testified to by those who 
could see, with marvellous precision and with fatal 
effect. Major Booth, who was killed near the close of 
the fight, conducted the defence with great coolness, 
skill, and gallantry. His last signal to the boat was, 
H We are hard pressed and shall be overpowered/ 7 He 



THE MASSACRE AT FORT PILLOW. 237 

refused to surrender, however, and fought to the last. 
By the uniform and voluntary testimony of the rebel 
officers, as well as the survivors of the fight, the negro- 
artillery regiments fought with the bravery and cool- 
ness of veterans, and served the guns with skill and pre- 
cision. They did not falter nor flinch, until, at the last 
charge, when it was evident they would be overpow- 
ered, they broke, and fled toward the river ; and here 
commenced the most barbarous and cruel outrages that 
ever the fiendishness of rebels has perpetrated during 
the war. 

After the rebels were in undisputed possession of the 
fort, and the survivors had surrendered, they com- 
menced the indiscriminate butchery of all the Federal 
soldiery. The colored soldiers threw down their guns, 
and raised their arms, in token of surrender ; but not the 
least attention was paid to it. They continued to shoot 
down all they found. A number of them, finding no 
quarter was given, ran over the bluff to the river, and 
tried to conceal themselves under the bank and in the 
bushes, where they were pursued by the rebel savages, 
whom the} 7 implored to spare their lives. Their appeals 
were made in vain ; and they were all shot down in 
cold blood, and, in full sight of the gunboat, chased and 
shot down like dogs. In passing up the bank of the 
river, fifty dead might be counted, strewed along. One 
had crawled into a hollow log, and was killed in it ; 
another had got over the bank into the river, and had got 
on a board that run out into the water. He lay on it on 
his face, with his feet in the water. He lay there, when 
exposed, stark and stiff. Several had tried to hide in 
crevices made by the falling bank, and could not be 
seen without difficulty ; but they were singled out, and 



238 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

killed. From the best information to be had, the 
white soldiers were, to a very considerable extent, 
treated in the same way. D. W. Harrison, one of 
the Thirteenth Tennessee on board, says, that, after 
the surrender, he was below the bluff, and one of the 
rebels presented a pistol to shoot him. He told him he 
had surrendered, and requested him not to fire. He 
spared him, and directed him to go up the bluff to the 
fort. Harrison asked him to go before him, or he would 
be shot by others ; but he told him to go along. He 
started, and had not proceeded far before he met a 
rebel, who presented his pistol. Harrison begged him 
not to fire ; but, paying no attention to his request, he 
fired, and shot him through the shoulder ; and another 
shot him in the leg. He fell ; and, while he lay unable to 
move, another came along, and was about to fire again, 
when Harrison told him he was badly wounded twice, 
and implored him not to fire. He asked Harrison if he 
had any money. He said he had a little money, and a 
watch. The rebel took from him his watch and ninety 
dollars in money, and left him. Harrison is, probably, 
fatally wounded. Several such cases have been related 
to me; and I think, to a great extent, the whites and 
negroes were indiscriminately murdered. The rebel 
Tennesseeans have about the same bitterness against 
Tennesseeans in the Federal army, as against the ne- 
groes. It was told by a rebel officer that Gen. Forrest 
shot one of his men, and cut another with his sabre, who 
were shooting down prisoners. It may be so ; but he 
is responsible for the conduct of his men. Gen. Chal- 
mers stated publicly, while on the Platte Valley, that, 
though he did not encourage or countenance his men in 
shooting down negro captives, yet it was right and 
justifiable. 






THE MASSACRE AT FORT PILLOW. 239 

The negro corporal, Jacob Wilson, who was picked 
up below Fort Pillow, had a narrow escape. He was 
down on the river-bank, and, seeing that no quarter 
was shown, stepped into the water so that he lay partly 
under it. A rebel coming along asked him what was 
the matter : he said he was badly wounded ; and the 
rebel, after taking from his pocket all the money he 
had, left him. It happened to be near by a flat-boat 
tied to the bank, and about three o'clock in the morn- 
ing. When all was quiet, Wilson crawled into it, and 
got three more wounded comrades also into it, and cut 
loose. The boat floated out into the channel, and was 
found ashore some miles below. The wounded negro 
soldiers aboard feigned themselves dead until Union sol- 
diers came along. 

The atrocities committed almost exceed belief; and, 
but for the fact that so many confirm the stories, we 
could not credit them. One man, already badly wound- 
ed, asked of a scoundrel who was firing at him, to spare 
his life. u No : damn you ! " was the reply. " You fight 
with niggers ! " and forthwith discharged two more balls 
into him. One negro was made to assist in digging a 
pit to bury the dead in, and was himself cast in among 
others, and buried. Five are known to have been buried 
alive : of these, two dug themselves out, and are now 
alive, and in the hospital. Daniel Tyler, of Company B, 
was shot three times, and struck on the head, knocking 
out his eye. After this, he was buried ; but, not liking 
his quarters, dug out. He laughs over his adventures, 
and says he is one of the best " dug-outs " in the world. 

Dr. Fitch says he saw twenty white soldiers paraded 
in line on the bank of the river ; and, when in line, the 
rebels fired upon and killed all but one, who ran to the 



240 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

river, and hid under a log, and in that condition was 
fired at a number of times, and wounded. He says that 
Major Bradford also ran down to the river, and, after he 
told them that he had surrendered, more than fifty shots 
were fired at him. He then jumped into the river, and 
swam out a little ways, and whole volleys were fired at 
him there without hitting him. He returned to the 
shore, and meeting, as the doctor supposes, some officer, 
was protected ; but he heard frequent threats from the 
rebels that they would kill him. 

" Yesterday afternoon/ 7 says "The Cairo News" of 
April 16, " we visited the United-States Hospital at 
Mound City, and had an interview with the wounded 
men from Fort Pillow. 

" The Fort-Pillow wounded are doing much better 
than could be expected from the terrible nature of their 
wounds. But one, William Jones, had died, though Ad- 
jutant Learing and Lieut. John H. Porter cannot possi- 
bly long survive. Of the whole number, — fifty-two, — 
all except two were cut or shot after they had surren- 
dered ! They all tell the same story of the rebel bar- 
barities ; and listening to a recital of the terrible scenes 
at the fort makes one's blood run cold. They say they 
were able to keep the rebels at bay for several hours, 
notwithstanding the immense disparity of numbers ; and, 
but for their treachery in creeping up under the walls 
of the fort while a truce was pending, would have held 
out until { The Olive Branch ' arrived with troops, with 
whose assistance they would have defeated Chalmers. 

" So well were our men protected behind their works, 
that our loss was very trifling before the rebels scaled 
the walls, and obtained possession. As soon as they 
saw the Rebels inside the walls, the Unionists ceased 



THE MASSACRE AT FORT PILLOW. 241 

firing, knowing that further resistance was useless ; but 
the Rebels continued firing, crying out, ' Shoot them, 
shoot them ! Show them no quarter ! ; 

"The Unionists, with one or two exceptions, had 
thrown down their arms in token of surrender, and 
therefore could offer no resistance. In vain they held 
up their hands, and begged their captors to spare their 
lives. But they were appealing to fiends ; and the 
butchery continued until, out of near six hundred men 
who composed the garrison, but two hundred and thirty 
remained alive: and of this number, sixty-two were 
wounded, and nine died in a few hours after. 

" Capt. Bradford, of the First Alabama Cavalry, was an 
especial object of rebel hatred, and his death was fully 
determined upon before the assault was made. After 
he had surrendered, he was basely shot ; but, having 
his revolver still at his side, he emptied it among a 
crowd of rebels, bringing three of the scoundrels to the 
ground. The massacre was acquiesced in by most of 
the rebel officers, Chalmers himself expressly declaring 
that l home-made Yankees and negroes should receive 
no quarter. 7 "■ 

The following is an extract from the Report of the 
Committee on the Conduct of the War on the Fort-Pil- 
low Massacre : — 

"It will appear from the testimony that was taken, 
that the atrocities committed at Fort Pillow were not 
the results of passion elicited by the heat of conflict, 
but were the results of a policy deliberately decided 
upon, and unhesitatingly announced. Even if the uncer- 
tainty of the fate of those officers and men belonging to 
colored regiments, who have heretofore been taken pris- 

16 



242 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

oners by the rebels, has failed to convince the authori- 
ties of our Government of this fact, the testimony here- 
with submitted must convince even the most sceptical, 
that it is the intention of the rebel authorities not to 
recognize the officers and men of our colored regiments 
as entitled to the treatment accorded by all civilized 
nations to prisoners of war. 

" The declarations of Forrest and his officers, both 
before and after the capture of Fort Pillow, as testi- 
fied to by such of our men as have escaped after being 
taken by him; the threats contained in the various 
demands for surrender made at Paducah, Columbus, 
and other places ; the renewal of the massacre the morn- 
ing after the capture of Fort Pillow; the statements 
made by the rebel officers to the officers of our gun- 
boats who received the few survivors at Fort Pillow, — 
all this proves most conclusively the policy they have 
determined to adopt. 

" It was at Fort Pillow that the brutality and cruelty 
of the rebels were most fearfully exhibited. The garri- 
son there, according to the last returns received at 
headquarters, amounted to ten officers and five hundred 
and thirty-eight enlisted men, of whom two hundred and 
sixty-two were colored troops, comprising one battalion 
of the Sixteenth United-States Heavy Artillery, formerly 
the First Alabama Artillery of colored troops, under the 
command of Major L. F. Booth ; one section of the Sec- 
ond Light Artillery (colored) ; and a battalion of the 
Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry (white ), commanded 
by Major A. F. Bradford. Major Booth was the ranking 
officer, and was in command of the fort. 

" Immediately after the second flag of truce retired, 
the rebels made a rush from the positions they had so 



THE MASSACRE AT FORT PILLOW. 243 

treacherously gained, and obtained possession of the 
fort, raising the cry of i No quarter.' But little oppor- 
tunity was allowed for resistance. Our troops, white 
and black, threw down their arms, and sought to escape 
by running down the steep bluff near the fort, and 
secreting themselves behind trees and logs in the 
brush, and under the brush ; some even jumping into 
the river, leaving only their heads above the water. 
Then followed a scene of cruelty and murder without 
parallel in civilized warfare, which needed but the toma- 
hawk and scalping-knife to exceed the worst atrocities 
ever committed by savages. 

"The rebels commenced an indiscriminate slaughter, 
sparing neither age nor sex, white nor black, soldier nor 
civilian. The officers and men seemed to vie with each 
other in the devilish work. Men, women, and children, 
wherever found, were deliberately shot down, beaten, 
and hacked with sabres. Some of the children not more 
than ten years old were forced to stand up by their mur- 
derers while being shot. The sick and wounded were 
butchered without mercy ; the rebels even entering the 
hospital-buildings, and dragging them out to be shot, or 
killing them as they lay there unable to offer the least 
resistance. All over the hillside the work of murder 
was going on. Numbers of our men were collected 
together in lines or groups, and deliberately shot. Some 
were shot while in the river ; while others on the bank 
were shot, and their bodies kicked into the water, many 
of them still living, but unable to make exertions to 
save themselves from drowning. 

u Some of the rebels stood upon the top of the hill, or a 
short distance from its side, and called to our soldiers to 
come up to them, and, as they approached, shot them 



244 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

down in cold blood ; and, if their guns or pistols missed 
fire, forced them to stand there until they were again 
prepared to fire. All around were heard cries of 4 No 
quarter, no quarter! 7 ' Kill the d — d niggers, shoot 
them clown ! ' All who asked for mercy were answered 
by the most cruel taunts and sneers. Some were spared 
for a time, only to be murdered under circumstances of 
greater cruelty. 

" No cruelty which the most fiendish malignity could 
devise was omitted by these murderers. One white sol- 
dier who was wounded in the leg so as to be unable to 
walk was made to stand up while his tormentors shot 
him. Others who were wounded, and unable to stand 
up, were held up and again shot. One negro who had 
been ordered by a rebel officer to hold his horse was 
killed by him when he remonstrated ; another, a mere 
child, whom an officer had taken up behind him on his 
horse, was seen by Gen. Chalmers, who at once ordered 
him to put him down and shoot him, which was done. 

" The huts and tents in which many of the wounded 
sought shelter were set on fire, both on that night and 
the next morning, while the wounded were still in them; 
those only escaping who were able to get themselves 
out, or who could prevail on others less injured to help 
them out: and some of these thus seeking to escape the 
flames were met by these ruffians, and brutally shot 
down, or had their brains beaten out. One man was de- 
liberately fastened down to the floor of a tent, face up- 
wards, by means of nails driven through his clothing and 
into the boards under him, so that he could not possibly 
escape ; and then the tent was set on fire. Another was 
nailed to the sides of a building outside of the fort, and 
then the building was set on fire and burned. The 



THE MASSACRE AT FORT PILLOW. 245 

charred remains of five or six bodies were afterwards 
found, all but one so much disfigured and consumed by 
the flames, that they could not be identified ; and the 
identification of that one is not absolutely certain, al- 
though there can hardly be a doubt that it was the body 
of Lieut, Albertson, Quartermaster of the Thirteenth 
Virginia Cavalry, and a native of Tennessee. Several 
witnesses who saw the remains, and who were person- 
ally acquainted with him while living here, testified it to 
be their firm belief that it was his body that was thus 
treated. 

" These deeds of murder and cruelty closed when night 
came on, only to be renewed the next morning, when 
the demons carefully sought among the dead lying about 
in all directions for any other wounded yet alive ; and 
those they found were deliberately shot. Scores of the 
dead and wounded were found there the day after the 
massacre by the men from some of our gunboats, who 
were permitted to go on shore, and collect the wounded, 
and bury the dead. 

" The rebels themselves had made a pretence of bury- 
ing a great many of their victims ; but they had merety 
thrown them, without the least regard to care or decency, 
in the trenches and ditches about the fort, or little hol- 
lows and ravines on the hillside, covering them but par- 
tially with earth. Portions of heads and faces were 
found protruding through the earth in every direction ; 
and even when your Committee visited the spot, two 
weeks afterwards, although parties of men had been sent 
on shore from time to time to bury the bodies unburied, 
and re-bury the others, and were even then engaged in 
the same work, we found the evidences of the murder 
and cruelty still most painfully apparent. 



246 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

u We saw bodies still unburied, at some distance from 
the fort, of some sick men who had been met fleeing from 
the hospital, and beaten down and brutally murdered, 
and their bodies left where they had fallen. We could 
still see the faces and hands and feet of men, white and 
black, protruding out of the ground, whose graves had 
not been reached by those engaged in re-interring the 
victims of the massacre ; and, although a great deal of 
rain had fallen .within the preceding two weeks, the 
ground, more especially on the side and at the foot of 
the bluff where most of the murders had been committed, 
was still discolored bv the blood of our brave but unfor- 
tunate soldiers ; and the logs and trees showed but too 
plainly the evidences of the atrocities perpetrated. 

" Many other instances of equally atrocious cruelty 
might be mentioned ; but your Committee feel compelled 
to refrain from giving here more of the heart-sickening 
details, and refer to the statements contained in the vo- 
luminous testimony herewith submitted. These state- 
ments were obtained by them from eye-witnesses and 
sufferers. Many of them as they were examined by your 
Committee were lying upon beds of pain and suffering; 
some so feeble that their lips could with difficulty frame 
the words by which they endeavored to convey some 
idea of the cruelties which had been inflicted on them, 
and which they had seen inflicted on others." 

When the murderers returned, the day after the cap- 
ture, to renew their fiendish work upon the wounded 
and dying, they found a young and beautiful mulatto 
woman searching among the dead for the body of her 
husband. She was the daughter of a wealthy and influ- 
ential rebel residing at Columbus. With her husband, 
this woman was living near the fort when our forces oc- 



THE MASSACRE AT FORT PILLOW. 247 

cupied it, and joined the Union men to assist in holding 
the place. Going from body to body with all the earnest- 
ness with which love could inspire an affectionate heart, 
she at last found the object of her search. He was not 
dead ; but both legs were broken. The wife had suc- 
ceeded in getting him out from among the piles of dead, 
and was bathing his face, and giving him water to drink 
from a pool near by, which had been replenished by the 
rain that fell a few hours before. At this moment she 
was seen by the murderous band ; and the cry was at 
once raised, u Kill the wench, kill her ! " The next moment 
the sharp crack of a musket was heard, and the angel 
of mercy fell a corpse on the body of her wounded hus- 
band, who was soon after knocked in the head by the 
butt-end of the same weapon. Though these revolting 
murders were done under the immediate eye of Gen. 
Chalmers, the whole was planned and carried out by Gen. 
Forrest whose inhumanity has never been surpassed in 
the history of civilized or even barbarous warfare. 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

INJUSTICE TO COLORED TROOPS. 

The Pay of the Men. — Government refuses to keep its Promise. — Ef- 
forts of Gov. Andrew to have Justice done. — Complaint of the Men. 
— Mutiny. — Military Murder. — Everlasting Shame. 

When the War Department commenced recruiting 
colored men as soldiers in Massachusetts, New Orleans, 
and Hilton Head, it was done with the promise that these 
men should receive the same pay, clothing, and treat- 
ment that white soldiers did. The same was promised 
at Camp William Penn, at Philadelphia. After several 
regiments had been raised and put in the field, the War 
Department decided to pay them but ten dollars per 
month, without clothing. The Fifty-fourth Massachu- 
setts Volunteers, and the Fifty-fifth, were both in South 
Carolina when this decision was made ; yet the Govern- 
ment held on to the men who had thus been obtained 
under false pretences. Dissatisfaction showed itself as 
soon as this was known among the colored troops. Still 
the blacks performed their duty, hoping that Congress 
would see that justice was done to them. The men re- 
fused to receive less than was their just due when the 
paymaster came round, as the following will show : — 

" Hilton Head, S.C., Feb. 6, 1864. 

" Samuel Harrison, Chaplain of the Fifty-fourth Regi- 
ment Massachusetts Volunteers (colored troops), asks 
pay at the usual rate of chaplains, — one hundred dollars 

248 



INJUSTICE TO COLORED TROOPS. 249 

per month and two rations, which; he being of African 
descent, I decline paying, under Act of Congress, July 
17, 1862, which authorizes the employment of persons 
of African descent in the army. The chaplain declines 
receiving any thing less of 

" TEN EYKE, 

Paymaster, United-States Army. 11 

It was left, however, for Massachusetts to take the 
lead, both by her governor, and by her colored soldiers 
in the field, to urge upon the Congress and the Adminis- 
tration the black man's claims. To the honor of John 
A. Andrew, the patriotic Chief Magistrate of the Bay 
State during the Rebellion, justice was demanded again 
and again. The following will show his feelings upon 
the subject : — 

His Excellency Gov. Andrew, in a letter dated Ex- 
ecutive Department, Boston, Aug. 24, and addressed 
to Mr. Frederick Johnson, an officer in the regiment, 
says, — 

" I have this day received your letter of the 10th of 
August, and in reply desire, in the first place, to express 
to you the lively interest with which I have watched 
every step of the Fifty-fourth Regiment since it left 
Massachusetts, and the feelings of pride and admiration 
with which I have learned and read the accounts of the 
heroic conduct of the regiment in the attack upon Fort 
Wagner, when you and your brave soldiers so well 
proved their manhood, and showed themselves to be true 
soldiers of Massachusetts. As to the matter inquired 
about in your letter, you may rest assured that I shall 
not rest until you shall have secured all of your rights, 
and that I have no doubt whatever of ultimate success. I 



250 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

have no doubt, by law, you are entitled to the same pay 
as other soldiers ; and, on the authority of the Secretary 
of War, I promised that you should be paid and treated 
in all respects like other soldiers of Massachusetts. Till 
this is done, I feel that my promise is dishonored by the 
Government. The whole difficulty arises from a misap- 
prehension, the correction of which will no doubt be 
made as soon as I can get the subject fully examined by 
the Secretary of War. 

" I have the honor to be your obedient servant, 

" JOHN A. ANDREW, 
" Governor of Massachusetts." 

The subjoined letter, from a soldier of the Fifty-fourth 
Massachusetts Volunteers, needs no explanation : — 

r We are still anticipating the arrival of the day when 
the Government will do justice to the Fifty-fourth and 
Fifty-fifth Regiments, and pay us what is justly our 
due. 

" We have fought like men ; we have worked like 
men ; we have been ready at every call of duty, and 
thus have proved ourselves to be men : but still we are 
refused the thirteen dollars per month. 

u Oh, what a shame it is to be treated thus ! Some 
of us have wives and little children, who are looking 
for succor and support" from their husbands and fathers ; 
but, alas ! they look in vain. The answer to the ques- 
tion, l When shall we be able to assist them ? ' is left 
wholly to the Congress of the United States. 

"What will the families of those poor comrades of 
ours who fell at James's Island, Fort Wagner, and Olus- 
tee, do ? They must suffer ; for their husbands and 
fathers have gone the way of all the earth. They have 




INJUSTICE TO COLORED TROOPS. 251 

gone to join that number that John saw, and to rest at 
the right hand of God. 

" Our hearts pine in bitter anguish when we look 
back to our loved ones at home, and we are compelled 
to shed many a briny tear. We have offered our lives a 
sacrifice for a country that has not the magnanimity to 
treat us as men. All that we ask is the rights of other 
soldiers, the liberty of other free men. If we cannot 
have these, give us an honorable discharge from the 
United-States service, and we will not ask for pay. 

" We came here to fight for liberty and country, and 
not for money (we would scorn to do that) ; but they 
promised us, if we would enlist, they would give us 
thirteen dollars per month. 

u It was all false. They only wanted to get the halter 
over our heads, and then say, ' Get out if you can.' 

" Sir, the Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth Regiments would 
sooner consent to fight for the whole three years, gratis, 
than to be put upon the footing of contrabands. 

" It is not that we think ourselves any better than 
they ; for we are not. We know that God i hath made 
of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the 
face of the earth ; ' but we have enlisted as Massachu- 
setts Volunteers, and we will not surrender that proud 
position, come what may." 

Sergt. William Walker, of Company A, Third South- 
Carolina colored troops, feeling that he and his associates 
were unjustly dealt with, persuaded his company to go 
to their captain's tent, and stack their muskets, and 
refuse duty till paid. They did so, and the following 
was the result : — 



252 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 



CONDEMNED AND SHOT FOR MUTINY. 

" Sergt. William Walker, of Company A, Third 
South-Carolina colored troops, was yesterday killed, in ac- 
cordance with the sentence of a court-martial. He had 
declared he would no longer remain a soldier for seven 
dollars per month, and had brought his company to stack 
their arms before their captain's tent, refusing to do 
duty until they should be paid thirteen dollars a month, 
as had been agreed when they were enlisted by Col. 
Saxon. He was a smart soldier and an able man, dan- 
gerous as leader in a revolt. His last moments were 
attended by Chaplain prison, Twenty-fourth Massachu- 
setts, and Chaplain Moore, of the Second South-Carolina 
colored troops. The execution took place at Jackson- 
ville, Fla., in presence of the regiments there in 
garrison. He met his death unflinchingly. Out of 
eleven shots first fired, but one struck him. A reserve 
firing-party had been provided, and by these he was 
shot to death. 

" The mutiny for which this man suffered death arose 
entirely out of the inconsistent and contradictory orders 
of the Paymaster and the Treasury Department at 
Washington." — Beaufort (S.C.) Cor. Tribune. 

The United-States Paymaster visited the Department 
three times, and offered to pay laborers' wages, of ten 
dollars per month, to the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth and 
Fifty-fifth, which to a man they refused, saying, " ' Tis an 
insult, after promising us a soldier's pay, and calling 
upon us to do a soldier's duty (and faithfully has it been 
performed), to offer us the wages of a laborer, who is 



INJUSTICE TO COLORED TROOPS. 253 

not called upon to peril his life for his country." Find- 
ing that the Government had tried to force them to take 
this reduced pay, Massachusetts sent down agents to 
make up the difference to them out of the State Trea- 
sury, trusting, that, ere long, the country would acknowl- 
edge them as on an equality with the rest of the army. 
But, in a manner that must redound to their credit, they 
refused it. Said they, " 'Tis the principle, not the money, 
that we contend for : we will either be paid as soldiers, 
or fight without reward." This drew down upon them 
the hatred of the other colored troops (for those regi- 
ments raised in the South were promised but ten dollars, 
as the Government also took care of their families), and 
they had to bear much from them ; but they did not 
falter. Standing by their expressed determination to 
have justice done them, they quietly performed their du- 
ties, only praying earnestly that every friend of theirs 
at the North would help the Government to see what a 
blot rests on its fair feme, — a betrayal of the trust 
reposed in them by the colored race. 

When they rushed forward to save our army from 
being slaughtered at Olustee, it was the irrepressible 
negro humor, with something more than a dash of sar- 
casm, that prompted the battle-cry, " Three cheers for 
Old Massachusetts, and seven dollars a month ! " (Three 
dollars were reserved by Government for clothes.) 

Another soldier, a member of the Fifty-fifth Massa- 
chusetts, complains as follows : — 

" Eleven months have now passed away, and still we 
are without our pay. How our families are to live and 
pay house-rent I know not. Uncle Sam has long wind, 
and expects as much of us as any soldiers in the field ; 
but, if we cannot get any pay, what have we to stimu- 
late us? 



251 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

" To work the way this regiment has for days, weeks, 
nay, months, and yet to get no money to send to our 
wives, children, and mothers, who are now suffering, 
would cause the blush of shame to mantle the cheek of 
a cannibal, were he our paymaster. 

" But we will suffer all the days of our appointed time 
with patience, only let us know that we are doing some 
good, make manifest, too, that we are making men (and 
women) of our race ; let us know that prejudice, the 
curse of the North as slavery is the curse of the South, 
is breaking, slowly but surely ; then we will suffer more, 
work faster, fight harder, and stand firmer than before." 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

BATTLE OP HONEY HILL ; SOUTH CAROLINA. 

Union Troops. — The March. — The Enemy. — The Swamp. — Earth 
works. — The Battle. — Desperate Fighting. — Great Bravery. — Col. 
Hartwell. — Fifty-fifth Massachusetts. — The Dying and the Dead. — 
The Retreat. — The Enemy's Position. — Earthworks. — His Advan- 
tages. — The Union Forces. — The Blacks. — Our Army outnumbered 
by the Rebels. — Their concealed Batteries. — Skirmishing. — The 
Rebels retreat to their Base. — The Battle. — Great Bravery of our 
Men. — The Fifty-fifth Massachusetts saves the Army. 

Honey Hill is about two and a half miles east of the 
village of Grahamville, Beaufort District. On the crest 
of this, where the road or the highway strikes it, is a 
semicircular line of earthworks, defective, though, in 
construction, as they are too high for infantry, and have 
little or no exterior slope. These works formed the 
centre of the rebel lines; while their left reached up 
into the pine-lands, and their right along a line of fence 
that skirted the swamp below the batteries. They com- 
manded fully the road in front as it passes through the 
swamp at the base of the hill, and only some fifty or 
sixty yards distant. Through the swamp runs a small 
creek, which spreads up and down the roads for some 
thirty or forty yards, but is quite shallow the entire dis- 
tance. Some sixty yards beyond this creek, the main 
road turns off to the left, making an obtuse angle; while 
another and smaller road makes off to the right from the 
same point. 

255 



256 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

The Union forces consisted of six thousand troops, 
artillery, cavalry, and infantry, all told, under the com- 
mand of Major-Gen. J. Gr. Foster ; Gen. John P. Hatch 
having the immediate command. The First Brigade, 
under Gen. E. E. Potter, was composed of the Fifty- 
sixth and One Hundred and Forty-fourth United-States, 
Twenty-fifth Ohio, and Thirty-fourth and Thirty-fifth 
United-States (colored). The Second Brigade, under Col. 
A. S. Hartwell, was composed of the Fifty-fourth and 
Fifty-fifth Massachusetts, and Twenty-sixth and Thirty- 
second United-States (colored). Col. E. P. Hallowell, of 
the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts, had, in spite of his ex- 
press desire, been left behind in command of Morris and 
FoUy Islands. As at the battle of Olustee, the enemy was 
met in small numbers some three or four miles from his 
base, and, retreating, led our army into the swamp, and 
up to his earthworks. So slight was the fighting as our 
troops approached the fort, that all the men seemed in 
high glee, especially the colored portion, which was 
making the woods ring with the following song : — 

" Ho, boys, chains are breaking ; 
Bondsmen fast awaking ; 
Tyrant hearts are quaking; 
Southward we are making. 

Huzza ! Huzza ! 

Our song shall be 

Huzza! Huzza! 

That we are free ! 

For Liberty we fight, — 
Our own, our brother's, right : 
We'll face Oppression's blight 
In Freedom's earnest might. 

Huzza! Huzza! &c. 



BATTLE OF HONEY HILL. 257 

For now as men we stand 
Defending Fatherland : 
With willing heart and hand, 
In this great cause we band. 

Huzza ! Huzza ! &c. 

Our flag's Red, White, and Blue : 
We'll bear it marching through, 
With rifles swift and true, 
And bayonets gleaming too. 

Huzza ! Huzza ! &c. 

Now for the Union cheers, 

Huzza ! Huzza ! Huzza ! 
For home and loved ones tears, 
For rebel foes no fears. 

Huzza ! Huzza ! Huzza ! 
And joy that conflict nears. 

Huzza ! Huzza ! 

Our song shall be 

Huzza ! Huzza ! 

That we are free ! 

No more the driver's horn 
Awakes us in the morn ; 
But battle's music borne, 
Our manhood shall adorn. 

Huzza! Huzza! &c. 

No more for trader's gold 
Shall those we love be sold ; 
Nor crushed be manhood bold 
In slavery's dreaded fold. 

Huzza ! Huzza ! &c. 

But each and all be free 
As singing-bird in tree, 
Or winds that whistling flee 
O'er mountain, vale, and sea. 

Huzza ! Huzza ! &c. 

The Union iorces approached the fort by the left road, 
which brought them in front of the enemy's guns pointing 

17 



258 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

down the hill, which was also down the road. An eye- 
witness of the battle gives the following account of 
it: — 

" The Thirty-second United-States colored troops were 
ordered to charge the rebel fort as soon as we had got 
in position at the head of the road. They attempted, 
but got stuck in the marsh, which they found impassable 
at the point of their assault ; and a galling fire of grape, 
canister, and musketry, being opened on them, they 
were forced to retire. 

The Thirty-fourth United-States colored troops also 
essayed an assault, but could not get near enough to 
produce any effect upon it. These regiments, however, 
only fell back to the line of battle, where they remained 
throughout the entire fight. 

" The Fifty-fifth Massachusetts (colored) went into the 
fight on the right of the brigade, commanded by Col. 
Hartwell. The fire became very hot ; but still the regi- 
ment did not waver, — the line merely quivered. Capt. 
Goraud, of Gen. Foster's staff, whose gallantry was con- 
spicuous all day, rode up just as Col. Hartwell was 
wounded in the hand, and advised him to retire ; but the 
colonel declined. 

" Col. Hartwell gave the order : the colors came to the 
extreme front, when the colonel shouted, ' Follow your 
colors ! } The bugle sounded the charge, and then the 
colonel led the way himself. 

"After an unsuccessful charge in line of battle by the 
Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth Massachusetts, the Fifty-fifth 
was formed in column by company, and again thrice 
marched up that narrow causeway in the face of the 
enemy's batteries and musketry. 

" Capt. Crane, of the Fifty-fifth Massachusetts, whose 



BATTLE OP HONEY HILL. 259 

company had been left in charge of Fort Delafield, at 
Folly Island, but who, at his own request, had gone as 
aide to Col. Hartwell, was, as well as the colonel, 
mounted. 

" Just as they reached the marsh in front of the turn 
in the road, and within a short distance of the rebel 
works, the horse of brave Col. Hartwell, while struggling 
through the mud, was literally blown in pieces by a 
discharge of canister. 

" The colonel was wounded at the same time, and 
attempted to jump from his horse ; but the animal fell 
on him, pressing him into the mud. At this time, he 
was riding at the side of the column, and the men 
pressed on past ; but, as they neared the fort, they met 
a murderous fire of grape, canister, and bullets at short 
range. As the numbers of the advance were thinned, 
the few who survived began to waver, and finally the 
regiment retreated. 

u In retiring, Lieut. Ellsworth, and one man of the 
Fifty-fifth Massachusetts, came to the rescue of Col. 
Hartwell, and in spite of his remonstrance that they 
should leave him to his fate, and take care of themselves, 
released him from his horse, and bore h;m from the field. 
But, before he was entirely out of range of the enemy's 
fire, the colonel was again wounded, and the brave 
private soldier who was assisting was killed, and another 
heroic man lost. 

"The Twenty-fifth Ohio, soon after the commence- 
ment of the engagement, were sent to the right, where 
they swung round, and fought on a line nearly perpen- 
dicular to our main front. A portion of the Fifty-fifth 
Massachusetts were with them. One or two charges 
were essayed, but were unsuccessful ; but the front was 



260 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

maintained there throughout the afternoon. The Twen- 
ty-fifth had the largest lo'ss of all the regiments. 

" The colored troops fought well throughout the day. 
Countercharges were made at various times during 
the fight by the enemy ; but our infantry and artillery 
mowed them down, and they did not at any time get 
very near our lines. Whenever a charge of our men 
was repulsed, the rebels would flock out of their works, 
whooping like Indians ; but Ames's guns and the terrible 
volleys of our infantry would send them back. The 
Naval Brigade behaved splendidly. 

" The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts, heroes of all the 
hard fights that have occurred in the department, were 
too much scattered in this battle to do full justice to 
themselves. Only two companies went into the fight at 
first, under Lieut.-Col. Hooper. They were posted on 
the left. Subsequently they were joined by four more 
companies, who were left on duty in the rear. 

" Many scenes transpired in this battle which would 
furnish rich material for the artist. In the midst of the 
engagement, a shell exploded amongst the color-guard, 
severely wounding the color-sergeant, Ring, who was af- 
terwards killed by a bullet. Private Fitzgerald, of Com- 
pany D, Massachusetts Fifty-fifth, was badly wounded in 
the side and leg, but remained at his post. Major Nutt, 
seeing his condition, ordered him to the rear. The man 
obeyed; but soon the major saw that he had returned, 
when he spoke sharply, l Go to the rear, and have your 
wounds dressed.' The man again obeyed the order; 
but in a few minutes more was seen by the major, with 
a handkerchief bound around the leg, and loading and 
firing. The major said to our informant, { I thought I 
would let him stay.' " 



BATTLE OF HONEY HILL. 261 

Like the Fifty-fourth at Olustee, the Fifty-fifth was 
the last regiment to leave the field, and cover the retreat 
at Honey Hill. The following account of the battle is 
from " The Savannah Republican ? ' (rebel), published a 
few days after the fight: — 

Cl The negroes, as usual, formed the advance, and had 
nearly reached the creek, when our batteries opened 
upon them down the road with a terrible volley of sphe- 
rical case. This threw them into temporary confusion ; 
but the entire force, estimated at five thousand, was 
quickly restored to order, and thrown into a line of bat- 
tle parallel with our own, up and down the margin of the 
swamp. Thus the battle raged from eleven in the morn- 
ing till dark. The enemy's centre and left were most 
exposed, and suffered terribly. Their right was posted 
behind an old dam that ran through the swamp, and it 
maintained its position till the close of the fight. Our 
left was very much exposed, and an attempt was once or 
twice made by the enemy to turn it by advancing through 
the swamp, and up the hill ; but they were driven back 
without a prolonged struggle. 

" The centre and left of the enemy fought with a des- 
perate earnestness. Several attempts were made to 
charge our batteries, and many got nearly across the 
swamp, but were, in every instance, forced back by the 
galling fire poured into them from our lines. We made 
a visit to the field the day following, and found the road 
literally strewn with their dead. Some eight or ten 
bodies were floating in the water where the road crosses; 
and in a ditch on the roadside, just beyond, we saw six 
negroes piled one on top of the other. A colonel of one 
of the negro regiments, with his horse, was killed while 
fearlessly leading his men across the creek in a charge. 



232 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

With that exception, all the dead and wounded officers 
were carried off by the enemy during the night. Many 
traces were left where they were dragged from the 
woods to the road, and thrown into ambulances or carts. 
We counted some «ixty or seventy bodies in the space 
of about an acre, many of which were horribly mutilated 
by shells ; some with half their heads shot off, and others 
completely disembowelled. The artillery was served 
with great accuracy, and we doubt if any battle-field of 
the war presents such havoc among the trees and shrub- 
bery. Immense pines and other growth were cut short 
off or torn into shreds." 

It is only simple justice to the Fifty-fifth Massachu- 
setts Regiment, to say, that at Honey Hill it occupied 
the most perilous position throughout nearly the entire 
battle. 

Three times did these heroic men march up the hill 
nearly to the batteries, and as many times were swept 
back by the fearful storm of grape-shot and shell ; more 
than one hundred being cut down in less than half an 
hour. Great was its loss ; and yet it remained in the 
gap, while our outnumbered army was struggling with 
the foe on his own soil, and in the stronghold chosen by 
himself. 

What the valiant Fifty-fourth Massachusetts had been 
at the battle of Olustee, the Fifty-fifth was at Honey 
Hill. 

Never was self-sacrifice, by both officers and men, more 
apparent than oh this occasion ; never did men look 
death more calmly in the face. See the undaunted and 
heroic Hartwell at the head of his regiment, and hear 
him shouting, " Follow your colors, my brave men ! " and 
with drawn sword leading his gallant band. His horse 



BATTLE OF HONEY HILL. 263 

is up to its knees in the heavy mud. The rider, already 
wounded, is again struck by the fragment of a shell, but 
keeps his seat ; while the spirited animal struggling in 
the mire, and plunging about, attracts the attention of the 
braves, who are eagerly pressing forward to meet the ene- 
my, to retake the lost ground, and gain a victory, or at 
least save the little army from defeat. A moment more he 
is killed ; and the brave Hartwell attempts to jump from 
his charger, but is too weak. The horse falls with fear- 
ful struggles upon its rider, and both are buried in the 
mud. The brave Capt. Crane, the Adjutant, is killed, 
and falls from his horse near his colonel. Lieut. Boynton, 
while urging his men, is killed. Lieut. Hill is wounded, 
but still keeps his place. Capts. Soule and Woodward 
are both wounded, and yet keep their command. The 
blood is running freely from the mouth of Lieut. Jewett ; 
but he does not leave his company. Sergeant-major 
Trotter is wounded, but still fights. Sergt. Shorter is 
wounded in the knee, yet will not go to the rear. A shell 
tears off the foot of Sergeant-major Charles L. Mitchel ; 
and, as he is carried to the rear, he shouts, with uplifted 
hand, " Cheer up, boys : we'll never surrender ! " But 
look away in front : there are the colors, and foremost 
amongst the bearers is Robert M. King, the young, the 
handsome, and the gentlemanly sergeant, whose youth 
and bravery attract the attention of all. Scarcely more 
than twenty years of age, well educated, he has left a 
good home in Ohio to follow the fortunes of war, and to 
give his life to help redeem his race. The enemy train 
their guns upon the colors,- the roar of cannon and crack 
of rifle is heard, the advanced flag falls, the heroic King 
is killed : no, he is not dead, but only wounded. A fel- 
low sergeant seizes the colors ; but the bearer will not 



264 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

give them up. He rises, holds the old flag aloft with 
one hand, and presses the other upon the wound in his 
side to stop the blood. " Advance the colors ! " shouts 
the commander. The brave King, though saturated with 
his own blood, is the first to obey the order. As he 
goes forward, a bullet passes through his heart, and he 
falls. Another snatches the colors ; but they are fast, the 
grasp of death holds them tight. The hand is at last 
forced open, the flag is raised to the breeze ; and the 
lifeless body of Robert M. King is borne from the field. 
This is but a truthful sketch of the part played by one 
heroic son of Africa, whose death was lamented by all 
who knew him. This is only one of the two hundred and 
forty-nine that fell on the field of Honey Hill. With a 
sad heart, we turn away from the picture. 

But shall we weep for the sleeping braves, who, turn- 
ing their backs upon the alluring charms of home-life, 
went forth at the call of country and race, and died, noble 
martyrs to the cause of liberty ? ? Tis noble to live for 
freedom ; but is it not nobler far to die that those coming 
after you may enjoy it ? 

"Dear is the spot where Christians weep; 
Sweet are the strains which angels pour : 
Oh ! why should we in anguish weep ? 
They are not lost, but gone before." 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

BEFORE PETERSBURG AND RICHMOND. 

Assault and Failure. — Who to Blame. — Heroic Conduct of the Blacks. 
— The Mine. — Success at the Second Attack. — Death of a Gallant 
Negro. — A Black Officer. 

When the mining assault on Petersburg failed, with 
such fearful loss in killed and wounded, the cry went 
through the land that it was owing to the coward- 
ice of the negro troops ; but this falsehood was very 
soon exploded. However, it will be well to state the 
facts connected with the attempt. A writer in " The 
New-York Evening Post " gave the following account 
of the preparation, attack, and failure, a few days after 
it occurred : — 

il We have been continually notified for the last fort- 
night, that our sappers were mining the enemy's posi- 
tion. As soon as ready, our division was to storm the 
works on its explosion. This rumor had spread so wide, 
we had no faith in it. On the night of the 29th, we 
were in a position on the extreme left. We were drawn 
in about nine, p.m., and marched to Gen. Burnside's 
headquarters, and closed in mass by division, left in 
front. We there received official notice that the long- 
looked-for mine was ready charged, and would be fired 
at daylight next morning. The plan of storming was 
as follows : One division of white troops was to charge 
the works immediately after the explosion, and carry 

265 



266 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

the first and second lines of rebel intrenchments. Our 
division was to follow immediately, and push right into 
Petersburg, take the city, and be supported by the re- 
mainder of the Ninth and the Twenty-eighth corps. We 
were up bright and early, ready and eager for the strug- 
gle to commence. I had been wishing for something 
of this sort to do for some time, to gain the respect of 
the Army of the Potomac. You know their former pre- 
judices. At thirty minutes after five, the ball opened. 
The mine, with some fifty pieces of artillery, went off 
almost instantaneously : at the same time, the white 
troops, according to the^plan, charged the fort, which 
they carried, for there was nothing to oppose them ; but 
they did not succeed in carrying either of the lines of 
intrenchments. 

" We were held in rear until the development of the 
movement of the white troops; but, on seeing the disas- 
ter which was about to occur, we were pushed in by 
the flank (for we could go in in no other way to allow us 
to get in position) : so you see on this failure we had 
nothing to do but gain by the flank. A charge in that 
manner has never proved successful, to my knowledge : 
when it does, it is a surprise. 

" Our men went forward with enthusiasm equal to 
any thing under different circumstances; but, in going 
through the fort that had been blown up, the passage 
was almost impeded by obstacles thrown up by the ex- 
plosion. At the same time, we were receiving a most 
deadly cross-fire from both flanks. At this time, our 
lieutenant-colonel (E. W. Ross) fell, shot through 
the left leg, bravely leading the men. I immediately 
assumed command, but only to hold it a few minutes, 
when I fell, struck by a piece of shell in the side. 



BEFORE PETERSBURG AND RICHMOND. 267 

Capt. Robinson, from Connecticut, then took command ; 
and, from all we can learn, he was killed. At this time, 
our first charge was somewhat checked, and the men 
sought cover in the works. Again our charge was 
made, but, like the former, unsuccessful. This was fol- 
lowed by the enemy making a charge. Seeing the unor- 
ganized condition and the great loss of officers, the men 
fell back to our own works. Yet a large number still 
held the fort until two, p.m. ; when the enemy charged 
again, and carried it. That ended the great attempt to 
take Petersburg. 

"It will be thus seen that the colored troops did not 
compose the first assaulting, but the supporting column; 
and they were not ordered forward until white troops 
in greater numbers had made a desperate effort to carry 
the rebel works, and had failed. Then the colored troops 
were sent in ; moved over the broken ground, and up 
the slope, and within a short distance of the parapet, in 
order, and with steady courage ; but finally broke and 
retreated under the same fire which just before had 
sent a whole division of white regiments to the right- 
about. If there be any disgrace in that, it does not be- 
long exclusively nor mainly to the negroes. A second 
attack is far more perilous and unlikely to succeed than 
a first; the enemy having been encouraged by the fail- 
ure of the first, and had time to concentrate his forces. 
And, in this case, there seems to have been a fatal delay 
in ordering both the first and second assault." 
An officer in the same engagement said, — 
" In regard to the bravery of the colored troops, al- 
though I have been in upwards of twenty battles, I 
never saw so many cases of gallantry. The ' crater/ 
where we were halted, was a perfect slaughter-pen. 



. 



268 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

Had not . c some one blundered/ but moved us up at 
daylight, instead of eight o'clock, we should have been 
crowned with success, instead of being cut to pieces by 
a terrific enfilading fire, and finally forced from the field 
in a panic. We had no trouble in rallying the troops, 
and moving them into the rifle-pits ; and, in one hour 
after the rout, I had nearly as many men together as 
were left unhurt. 

" I was never under such a terrific fire, and can 
hardly realize how any escaped alive. Our loss was 
heavy. In the Twenty-eighth (colored), for instance, 
commanded by Lieut.-Col. Russell (a Bostonian), he lost 
seven officers out of eleven, and ninety-one men out of 
two hundred and twenty-four ; and the colonel himself 
was knocked over senseless, for a few minutes, by a 
slight wound in the head : both his color-sergeants and 
all his color-guard were killed. Col Bross, of the Twen- 
ty-ninth, was killed outright, and nearly every one of 
his officers hit. This was nearly equal to Bunker Hill. 
Col. Ross, of the Thirty-first, lost his leg. The Twen- 
ty-eighth, Twenty-ninth, and Thirtieth (colored), all 
charged over the works ; climbing up an earthwork six 
feet high, then down into a ditch, and up on the other 
side, all the time under the severest fire in f^ont and 
flank. Not being supported, of course the storming- 
party fell back. I have seen white troops run faster 
than these blacks did, when in not half so tight a 
place. Our brigade lost thirty-six prisoners, all cut off 
after leaving the i crater. 7 My faith in colored troops 
is not abated one jot." 

Soon after the failure at Petersburg, the colored 
troops had a fair opportunity, and nobly sustained their 
reputation gained on other fields. At the battle of New- 



BEFORE PETERSBURG AND RICHMOND. 269 

Market Heights, Va., the Tenth Army Corps, under 
Major-Gen. Birney, met a superior number of the enemy, 
and had a four-hours' fight, Sept. 29, in which our men 
came off victorious. The following order, issued on the 
8th of October, needs no explanation : — 

"Headquarters, 3d Division, 18th Army Corps, 
Before Richmond, Va., Oct. 7, 1864. 
"General Orders No. 103. 

"Officers and Soldiers of this Division, — Major- 
Gen. D. B. Birney, commanding the Tenth Army Corps, 
has desired me to express to you the high satisfaction 
he felt at your good conduct while we were serving 
with the Tenth Corps, Sept. 29 and 30, 1864, and with 
your gallantry in storming New-Market Heights. 

" I have delayed issuing this order, hoping for an op- 
portunity to say this to you in person. 

" Accept, also, my own thanks for your gallantry on 
Sept. 29, and your good conduct since. You have won 
the good opinion of the whole Army of the James, and 
every one who knows your deeds. 

" Let every officer and man, on all occasions, exert 
himself to increase your present deserved reputation. 

" C. J. PAINE, Brigadier-General 
"(Signed) S. A. CARTER, A. A .<?.» 

" Headquarters Tenth Army Corps. 

Aug. 19, 1864. 

" Major- Gen. Butler commanding Department. 

"The enemy attacked my lines in heavy force last 
night, and were repulsed with great loss. In front of 
one colored regiment, eighty-two dead bodies of the 
enemy are already counted. The colored troops be- 
haved handsomely, and are in fine spirits. The assault 



270 THE NEGBO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION 

was in columns a division strong, and would have car- 
ried any works not so well defended. The enemy's loss 
was at least one thousand. 

" (Signed) Bespectfully, 

" D. B. BIRNEY, Major- General: 1 

"Seventy-five of our Black Virginia Cavalry were 
surrounded by three regiments of rebel infantry, and 
gallantly cut through them; and an orderly-sergeant 
killed with his sabre six of the enemy, and escaped 
with the loss of an arm by grape-shot. He lies in aa 
adjoining room, and is slowly recovering." 

" Brave man, thy deeds shall fill the trump of fame, 
And wake responsive echoes far and wide, 
And on contemners of thy race cast shame ; 
For thou hast nobly with the noblest vied. 

Thy deeds recall the charge at Balaklava, 

Wherein six hundred were immortalized : 
Not any hero of that charge was braver ; 

And thy great valor shall be recognized. 

No wolf, pursued by hounds o'er hill and plain, 

At last more savagely stands up at bay, 
Finding past efforts to escape all vain, 

Then cleaves through dying hounds his bloody way. 

Thine was the task, amid war's wild alarm, 

The valor of thy race to vindicate : 
Now admiration all true bosoms warm, 

And places thee among the gallant great. 

It thrills bur hearts to think upon the strife 

In which, surrounded by the rebel host, 
Thou didst deal death for liberty and life, 

And freedom win, although an arm was lost. 

lion-hearted hero ! whose fierce sword 

Made breathless thy oppressors, bravely bear 

Thy sufferings ; for our sympathies are poured 
For thee, and gladly would relieve or share." 



BEFORE PETERSBURG AND RICHMOND. 271 

At the second attack on Petersburg, the colored 
troops did nobly. A correspondent of " The New- York 
Times " wrote as follows : — 

" As everybody seems to have negro on the brain in 
the army, I may be pardoned for again alluding to the 
colored troops in this letter. A single day's work has 
wiped out a mountain of prejudice, and fairly turned the 
popular current of feeling in this army in favor of the 
down-trodden race ; and every one who has been with 
them on the field has some story to relate of their gal- 
lant conduct in action, or their humanity and social 
qualities. The- capture of the fort before referred to 
is related, among other things, in evidence of their man- 
hood and gallantry ; taking prisoners in the exciting 
moment of actual hand-to-hand fighting, in face of the 
Fort-Pillow and other similar rebel atrocities perpe- 
trated elsewhere, upon their colored companions-in- 
arms as evidence of their humanity, — that they are 
really something more than the stolid brutes, such as 
some people profess to believe. But, next to bravery, 
one impromptu act of theirs has done more than all else 
to remove a supposed natural prejudice against them. 
Wounded officers of two different brigades in the Sec- 
ond Corps tell me, that, when they relieved the colored 
troops in front Wednesday night, their men had been 
out of rations all day, and were very hungry, as may 
well be supposed. When this fact became known to 
the negroes, to use the expressive language of a wound- 
ed officer, l They emptied their haversacks, and gave the 
contents to our boys. 7 The colored troops, I have had 
opportunity to know, bear their honors meekly, as be- 
come men. Hereafter, the vile oath and offensive epi- 
thet will not be blurted out against the negro soldier, 



272 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

and in his presence, upon every favorable opportunity, 
as has too generally heretofore been the practice. This 
will be exclusively confined to the professional strag- 
glers, who are never at the front when danger is 
there." 

Sergt. Peter Hawkins, of the Thirty-first United- 
States, exhibited in the attack upon Petersburg marked 
abilities as a soldier. All the officers of Company A be- 
ing killed or wounded, he took command, and held it for 
fourteen days. An eye-witness said, — 

li He appointed men for guard and picket duty, made 
out his regular morning report, issued rations, drilled 
his men, took them out on dress-parade, or on fatigue- 
duty. Whatever important duty was devolved upon 
him, he was the man to perform without murmuring. 
He is fully competent to fill the office of a lieutenant 
or ^captain. He has clearly proven on the field his un- 
flinching courage and indomitable will." 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

WIT AND HUMOR OF THE WAR. 

Negro Wit and Humor. — The Faithful Sentinel. — The Sentinel's Respect 
for the United-States Uniform. — The " Nail-kag." — The Poetical 
Drummer-boy. — Contrabands on Sherman's March. — Negro Poetry 
on Freedom. — The Soldier's Speech. — Contraband capturing his Old 
Master. 

With all the horrors of the Rebellion, there were oc- 
casions when these trying scenes were relieved by some 
amusing incident. Especially was this true with regard to 
the colored people. Thus when Adjutant-Gen. Thomas 
first announced the new policy in Mississippi, and they 
began enlisting freedmen, one was put on guard at night, 
at Lake Providence, and was instructed not to allow any 
one to pass without the countersign. He was, however, 
told not to fire upon a person until he had called out, 
" One, two, three." The negro seemed not to understand 
it, and asked to have the instructions repeated. " You 
are to walk from here to that tree, and back," continued 
the white sergeant, " and, if you see or hear any one, call 
out, { Who comes there ? Give the countersign. One, two, 
three.' And, if you receive no reply, shoot. 7 ' — "Yes, 
massa, 77 said Sam. u . I got it dis time, and no mistake. 77 
After an hour or more on duty, Sam thought he heard 
the tramp of feet, and began a sharp lookout. Presently 
bringing his gun to his shoulder, and taking sight, he 
called out in quick succession, u Who comes dar ? Give de 
countersign. One, two, three ! 77 And " bang 77 went the 

18 273 



274 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

gun. Fortunately, the negro's aim was not as reliable as 
was his determination to do his whole duty ; and the only 
damage done was a bullet-hole through the intruder's 
hat. When admonished by the officer for not waiting 
for the man's answer, the negro said, " Why, massa, 1 
was afraid dat ef I didn't shoot quick, he'd run." 

A colored sentinel wak marching on his beat in the 
streets of Norfolk, Va., when a white man, passing by, 
shouldered him insolently off the sidewalk, quite into 
the street. The soldier, on recovering himself, called 
out, — 

" White man, halt ! " 

The white man, Southerner like, went straight on. The 
sentinel brought his musket to a ready, cocked it ; and 
hailed again, — 

" White man, halt, or I'll fire ! " 

The white man, hearing shoot in the tone, halted, and 
faced about. 

"White man," continued the sentry peremptorily, 
" come here ! " 

He did so. 

" White man," said the soldier again, " me no care one 
cent 'bout this particklar Cuffee ; but white man bound 
to respeck this uniform (striking his breast). White 
man, move on ! " 

A Virginia rebel, who has issued a book giving his ex- 
perience as a prisoner in the hands of the Federals at 
Point Lookout and Elmira, tells the following story : — 

" The boys are laughing at the summons which S., one 
of my fellow-Petersburgers, got to-day from a negro sen- 
tinel. S. had on when captured, and I suppose still pos- 
sesses, a tall beaver of the antique pattern considered 
inseparable from extreme respectability in the last dec- 



WIT AND HUMOR OP THE WAR. 275 

ade and for many a year before. While wandering 
around the enclosure, seeking, I suspect, ' what he might 
devour/ he accidentally stepped beyond the ' dead line/ 
and was suddenly arrested by a summons from the near- 
est negro on the parapet, who seemed to be in doubt 
whether so well-dressed a man could be a 'reb/and 
therefore whether he should be shot at once. 

" White man, you belong in dar ? " 

"Yes." 

" Well, ain't you got no better sense dan to cross dat 
line?" 

u I did not notice the line." 

" Well, you had better notice it, and dat quick, or Fll 
blow half dat nail-kag off ! " 

The following doggerel was composed by a drummer- 
boy, aged thirteen, who had been a slave, and was with- 
out education. He sung it to the One Hundred and 
Seventh Regiment United-States colored troops, to which 
he was attached : — 

" Captain Fiddler's come to town 
With his abolition triggers : 
He swears he's one of Lincoln's men, 
1 Enlisting all the niggers/ 

You'll see the citizens on the street 

Whispering in rotation : 
What do they seem to talk about ? 

Lincoln's proclamation. 

Some get sick, and some will die, 

Be buried in rotation : 
What was the death of such a man ? 

Lincoln's proclamation. 

You'll see the rebels on the street, 

Their noses like a bee gum ; 
I don't care what in thunder they say, 

I'm fighting for my freedom ! 



276 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

Richmond is a mighty place, 

And Grant's as sound as a dollar ; 
And every time he throws a shell, 

Jeff begins to holler. 

My old massa's come to town, 

Cutting a Southern figure : 
What's the matter with the man 1 

Lincoln's got his niggers. 

Some folks say this ' almighty fuss 

Is getting worse and bigger ; ' 
Some folks say ' it's worse and worse/ 

Because I am ' a nigger.' 

We'll get our colored regiments strung 

Out in a line of battle : 
I'll bet my money agin the South 

The rebels will skedaddle." 

In his inarch, Gen. Sherman was followed by large 
numbers of contrabands. They were always the first to 
welcome our troops. On entering Fayetteville, the gen- 
eral was met by slaves, old and young ; and a man of 
many years exclaimed, — 

" Tank de Almighty God, Mr. Sherman has come at 
last ! We knew it, we prayed for de day, and de Lord 
Jesus heard our prayers. Mr. Sherman has come wid 
his company. " 

One fat old woman said to him, while shaking him by 
the hand, which he always gladly gives to those poor 
people, " I prayed dis long time for yer, and de blessing 
ob de Lord is on yer. But yesterday afternoon, when 
yer stopped trowing de shells into de town, and de sol- 
diers run away from de hill ober dar, I thout dat Gen. 
Burygar had driven you away, for dey said so ; but here 
yer am dun gone. Bress de Lord, yer will hab a place 
in heaben : yer will go dar sure." 



WIT AND HUMOR OF THE WAR. 277 

Several officers of the army, among them Gen. Slocum, 
were gathered round, interested in the scene. The gen- 
eral asked them : — 

" Well, men, what can I do for you ? Where are you 
from? 77 

<" We's jus come from Cheraw. Massa took us with 
him to carry mules and horses away from youins." 

" You thought we would get them. Did you wish us 
to get the mules ? " 

" Oh, yes, massa ! dat 7 s what I wanted. We knowed 
youins cumin 7 , and I wanted you to hav dem mules ; but 
no use : dey heard dat youins on de road, and nuthin 7 
would stop dem. Why, as we cum along, de cavalry run 
away from the Yanks as if they fright to deth. Dey 
jumped into de river, and some of dem lost dere hosses. 
Dey frightened at the very name ob Sherman. 77 

Some one at this point said, " That is Gen. Serman 
who is talking to you. 77 

" God bress me ! is you Mr. Sherman ? " 

"Yes: I am Mr. Sherman. 77 

" Dats him, su 7 nuff, 77 said one. 

" Is dat de great Mr. Sherman that we's heard ob so 
long? 77 said another. 

" Why, dey so frightened at your berry name, dat dey 
run right away, 77 shouted a third. 

" It is not me that they are afraid of, 7 ' said the gen- 
eral : " the name of another man would have the same 
effect with them if he had this army. It is these sol- 
diers that they run away from. 77 

" Oh, no ! 77 they all exclaimed. " It 7 s de name of Sher- 
man, su 7 ; and we hab wanted to see you so long while 
you trabbel all roun jis whar you like to go. Dey said 
dat dey wanted to git you a little furder on, and den dey 



278 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

whip all your soldiers ; but, God bress me, you keep 
cumin' and a curiam' and dey allers git out." 

"Dey mighty 'fraid ob you, sar ; day say you kill de 
colored men, too," said an old man, who had not hereto- 
fore taken part in the conversation. 

With much earnestness, Gen. Sherman replied, — 

" Old man, and all of you, understand me. I desire 
that bad men should fear me, and the enemies of the 
Government which we are all fighting for. Now we are 
your friends ; you are now free." (" Thank you, Massa 
Sherman," was ejaculated by the group.) " You can go 
where you please ; you can come with us, or go home to 
your children. Wherever you go, you are no longer 
slaves. You ought to be able to take care of yourselves." 
(" We is ; we will.") " You must earn your freedom, 
then you will be entitled to it, sure ; you have a right to 
be all that you can be, but you must be industrious, and 
earn the right to be men. If you go back to your fami- 
lies, and I tell you again you can go with us if you wish, 
you must do the best you can. When you get a chance, 
go to Beaufort or Charleston, where you will have a 
little farm to work for yourselves." 

The poor negroes were filled with gratitude and hope 
by these kind words, uttered in the kindest manner, and 
they went away with thanks and blessings on their 
lips. 

During the skirmishing, one of our men who, by the 
way, was a forager, was slightly wounded. The most se- 
rious accident of the day occurred to a negro woman, 
who was in a house where the rebels had taken cover. 
When I saw this woman, who would not have been se- 
lected as a type of South- Carolina female beauty, the 
blood was streaming over her neck and bosom from a 



WIT AND HUMOR OF THE WAR. 279 

wound in the lobe of her ear, which the bullet had just 

clipped and passed on. 

" What was it that struck you, aunty ? " I asked her. 
"Lor bress me, inassa,I dun know, I jus fell right down." 
" Didn't you feel any thing, nor hear any sound ? " 
" Yes, now I 'member, I heerd a s-z-z-z-z-z, and den I 

jus knock down. I drap on de groun'. I'se so glad I 

rot dead, for if I died den de bad man would git me, cos 

1 dance lately a heap." 

A contraband's poetical version of the President's 

Emancipation Proclamation. 

" I'se gwine to tell ye, Sambo, 

What I heard in town to-day, — 
I listened at the cap'n's tent : 

I'll tell ye what he say. 

He say dat Massa Linkum, 

Way yonder Norf, ye see, — 
Him write it in de Yankee book, 

1 De nigger gwine for free.' 

And now, ye see, I tell ye 

What Massa Linkum done : 
De secesh can't get way from dat 

No more'n dey dodge a gun. 

It's jes' as sure as preachin', 

I tell ye, Sambo, true, — 
De nigger's trouble ober now, 

No more dem lash for you. 

I 'spected dat would happen : 

I had a sense, ye see, 
Of something big been gwine to come 

To make de people free. 

I t'ought de flamin' angel 

Been gwine for blow de trump ; 
But Massa Linkum write de word 

Dat make de rebel jump. 



280 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

So now we'll pick de cotton, 

So now we'll broke de corn : 
De nigger's body am his own 

De bery day he born. 

He grind de grits in safety, 

He eat de yams in peace ; 
De Lord, him bring de jubilee, 

De Lord, him set de feas'. 

So now, I tell ye, Sambo, 

Ye're born a man to-day : 
Nobody gwine for contradic' 

What Massa Linkum say. 

Him gwine for free de nigger : 

De Lord, him gib de word ; 
And Massa Linkum write 'em down, 

O Sambo ! praise de Lord ! " 

When the teachers were introduced into Jackson, 
Miss., soon after the Union forces occupied the place, 
they found some very ignorant material to work upon. 
One old woman, while attending the Sabbath school, be- 
ing asked who made her, replied, "I don't know, 'zacly, 
sir. I heard once who it was ; but I done forgot de gent- 
mun's name." The teacher thought that the Lord's name 
had been rather a stranger in that neighborhood. Dur- 
ing the siege of Port Hudson, a new schoolhouse was 
erected for the black soldiers who had been enlisted in 
that vicinity ; and, when it was opened, the following 
speech was made by a colored soldier, called Sergt. 
Spencer: — 

" I has been a-thinkin ? I was old man ; for, on de plan- 
tation, I was put down wid de old hands, and I quinsi- 
contly feeled myself dat I was a old man. But since 
I has come here to de Yankees, and been made a soldier 
for de Unite States, an' got dese beautiful clothes on, 



WIT AND HUMOR OF THE WAR. 281 

I feels like one young man ; and I doesn't call myself a 
old man nebber no more. An' I feels dis ebenin' dat, if 
de rebs came down here to dis old Fort Hudson, dat I 
could jus fight um as brave as any man what is in the 
Sebenth Regiment. Sometimes I has mighty feelins in 
dis ole heart of mine, when I considers how dese ere 
ossifers come all de way from de North to fight in de 
cause what we is lighten fur. How many ossifers has 
died, and how many white soldiers has died, in dis great 
and glorious war what we is in ! And now I feels dat, 
fore I would turn coward away from dese ossifers, I feels 
dat I could drink my own blood, and be pierced through 
wid five thousand bullets. I feels sometimes as doe I 
ought to tank Massa Linkern for dis blessin' what we 
has ; but again I comes to de solemn conclusion dat I 
ought to tank de Lord, Massa Linkern, and all dese ossi- 
fers. 'Fore I would be a slave 'gain, I would fight till 
de last drop of blood was gone. I has 'eluded to fight 
for my liberty, and for dis eddication what we is now to 
receive in dis beautiful new house what we has. Aldo I 
hasn't got any eddication nor no book-learnin', I has rose 
up dis blessed ebenin' to do my best afore dis congrega- 
tion. Dat's all what I has to say now ; but, at some fu- 
ture occasion, I may say more dan I has to say now, and 
edify you all when I has more preparation. Dat's all 
what I has to say. Amen." 

After the fall of Port Hudson, Sergt. Spencer was 
sent with his company into the interior ; and, while in a 
skirm?sh, he captured his old master, who was marched 
off by the chattel to headquarters, distant about six 
miles. The master, not liking the long walk and his 
heavy gun, began upbraiding his slave for capturing 
him, and, complaining of his misfortune, stopped, laid 



282 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

down his gun, seated himself on an old log, lighted hits 
pipe, and said he could walk no farther. 

However, old Spencer soon told the prisoner a differ- 
ent tale. Waiting a reasonable time for resting, the 
sergeant said, "Come, boss, you's smoked enough dar : 
come, I is in a hurry. I can't wait no longer." The 
rebel still remonstrated with his slave, reminding him 
of what he once was, and the possibility of his being 
again in his .power. But these admonitions made little 
or no impression on the sergeant, who resumed, " Come, 
boss, come : dis is no time to tell 'bout what you's been 
or what you's gwine to be. Jes git right up and come 
long, or Pll stick dis bayonet in you." — " Well, Spencer/ 7 
said the master, "you carry my gun." — " No, boss ; you 
muss tote your own gun. I is bin toting you an' all 
your chilen des forty years, and now de times is changed. 
Come, now, git up an move on, or I'll stick you wid dis 
bayonet " (at the same time drawing the bayonet from 
its scabbard). " Massa reb " shouldered his unloaded 
shooter, and reluctantly continued his journey. 



CHAPTEE XXXVi; 

A THKILLING INCIDENT OF THE WAR. 

Heroic Escape of a Slave. — His Story of his Sister. — Resides North. — 
Joins the Army and returns to the South during the Rebellion.— 
Search for his Mother. — Finds her. — Thrilling Scene. — Truth 
stranger than Fiction. 

It was in the month of December, 1832, while Col. 
Rice and family were seated around a bright wood-fire, 
whose blaze lighted up the large dining-room in their 
old mansion, situated ten miles from Drayton, in the State 
of Ohio, that they heard a knock at the door, which was 
answered by the familiar " Come in," that always greets 
the stranger in the Western States. Squire Loomis 
walked in, and took a seat in one of the three rocking- 
chairs which had been made vacant by the young folks, 
who rose to give place to their highly influential and 
wealthy neighbor. It was a beautiful night : the sky 
was clear, the wind had hushed its deep moanings. The 
most brilliant of the starry throng stood out in bold re- 
lief, despite the superior light of the moon. " I see 
some one standing at the gate," said Mrs. Rice, as she 
left the window, and came nearer the fire. " I'll go 
out and see who it is," exclaimed George, as he quitted 
his chair, and started for the door. The latter soon 
returned, and whispered to his father ; and both left the 
room, evincing that something unusual was at hand. 
Not many minutes elapsed, however, before the father 
and son entered, accompanied by a young man, whose 

283 



284 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

complexion showed plainly that other than Anglo-Saxon 
blood coursed through his veins. The whole company 
rose, and the stranger was invited to draw near to the 
fire. Question after question was now pressed upon the 
new-comer by the colonel and squire, but without elicit- 
ing satisfactory replies. " You need not be afraid, my 
friend/ 7 said his host, as he looked intently in the col- 
ored man's face, " to tell where you are from, and to 
w T hat place you are going. If you are a fugitive, as I 
suspect, give us your story, and we will protect and 
defend you to the last.' 7 Taking courage from these 
kind remarks, the mulatto said, " I was born, sir, in the 
State of Kentucky, and raised in Missouri. My master 
was my father : my mother was his slave. That, sir, 
accounts for the fairness of my complexion. As soon as 
I was old enough to labor, I was taken into my master's 
dwelling as a servant, to attend upon the family. My 
mistress, aware of my near relationship to her husband, 
felt humiliated ; and often, in her anger, would punish 
me severely for no cause whatever. My near approach 
to the Anglo-Saxon aroused the jealousy and hatred of 
the overseer; and he flogged me, as he said, to make me 
know my place. My fellow-slaves hated me because I 
was whiter than themselves. Thus my complexion was 
construed into a crime, and I was made to curse my 
father for the Anglo-Saxon blood that courses through 
my veins. 

" My master raised slaves to supply the Southern 
market; and every year some of my companions were 
sold to the slave-traders, and taken farther South. Hus- 
bands were separated from wives, and children torn 
from the arms of their agonized mothers. These out- 
rages were committed by the man whom nature com- 



A THRILLING INCIDENT OF THE WAR. 285 

pelled me to look upon as my father. My mother and 
brothers were sold, and taken away from me : still I 
bore all, and made no attempt to escape ; for I yet had 
near me an only sister, whom I dearly loved. At last 
the negro-driver attempted to rob my sister of her vir- 
tue. She appealed to me for protection. Her innocence, 
beauty, and tears were enough to stir the stoutest heart. 
My own, filled with grief and indignation, swelled within 
me as though it would burst, or leap from my bosom. 
.My tears refused to flow : the fever in my brain dried 
them up. I could stand it no longer. I seized the 
wretch by the throat, and hurled him to the ground ; 
and, with this strong arm, I paid him for old and 
new. The next day I was tried by a jury of slave- 
holders for the crime of having within me the heart of 
a man, and protecting my sister from the licentious 
embrace of a libertine. And, would you believe it, sir? 
that jury of enlightened Americans, — yes, sir, Chris- 
tian Americans, — after grave deliberation, decided that 
I had broken the laws, and sentenced me to receive five 
hundred lashes upon my bare back. But, sir, I escaped 
from them the night before I was to have been flogged. 
Afraid of being arrested and taken back, I remained 
the following day hid away in a secluded spot on the 
banks of the Mississippi River, protected from the gaze 
of man by the large trees and thick canebrakes that 
sheltered me. I waited for the coming of another night. 
All was silent around me save the sweet chant of the 
feathered songsters in the forest, or the musical ripple 
of the eddying waters at my feet. I watched the ma- 
jestic bluffs as they gradually faded away through the 
gray twilight from the face of day into the darker shades 
of night. I then turned to the rising moon as it peered 



286 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

above, ascending the deep-blue ether, high in the heav- 
ens, casting its mellow rays over the surrounding land- 
scape, and gilding the smooth surface of the noble river 
with its silvery hue. I viewed with interest the stars 
as they appeared one after another in the firmament. 
It was then and there that I studied nature in its lonely 
grandeur, and saw in it the goodness of God, and felt 
that he who created so much beauty, and permitted the 
fowls of the air and beasts of the field to roam at large, 
and be free, never intended that man should be the slave 
of his fellow-man. I resolved that I would be a bond- 
man no longer; and, taking for my guide the north star, 
I started for Canada, the negro's land of liberty. For 
many weeks, I travelled by night, and lay by during the 
day. Oh ! how often, while hid away in the forest, wait- 
ing for nightfall, have I thought of the beautiful lines I 
once heard a stranger recite ! — 

" ' Oh hail, Columbia ! happy land, — 
The cradle-land of liberty ! 
Where none but negroes bear the brand, 
Or feel the lash, of slavery. 

Then let the glorious anthem peal, 
And drown " Britannia rules the waves : " 

Strike up the song that men can feel, — 
" Columbia rules four million slaves ! " ' 

" At last I arrived at a depot of the underground 
railroad, took the express train, and here I am. 77 — " You 
are welcome/ 7 said Col. Rice, as he rose from his chair, 
walked to the window, and looked out, as if ap- 
prehensive that the fugitive's pursuers were near by. 
" You are welcome/ 7 continued he ; " and I will aid you 
on your way to Canada, for you are not safe here." 



A THRILLING INCIDENT OF THE WAE. 287 

" Are you not afraid of breaking the laws by assisting 
this man to escape ?" remarked Squire Loomis. " I care 
not for laws when they stand in the way of humanity/' 
replied the colonel. " If you aid him in reaching Cana- 
da, and we should ever have a w T ar with England, may- 
be he'll take up arms, and fight against his own country," 
said the squire. The fugitive eyed the law-abiding 
man attentively for a moment, and then exclaimed, 
" Take up arms against my country ? What country, 
sir, have I ? The Supreme Court of the United States, 
and the laws of the South, doom me to be the slave of 
another. There is not a foot of soil over which the stars 
and stripes wave, where I can stand, and be protected 
by law. I've seen my mother sold in the cattle-market: 
I looked upon my brothers as they were driven away in 
chains by the slave-speculator. The heavy negro-whip 
has been applied to my own shoulders, until its biting 
lash sunk deep into my quivering flesh. Still, sir, you 
call this my country. True, true, I was born in this 
land. My grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War: 
my own father was in the war of 1812. Still, sir, I am 
a slave, a chattel, a thing, a piece of property. I've 
been sold in the market with horses and swine. The 
initials of my master's name are branded on this arm. 
Still, sir, you call this my country. And, now that I am 
making my escape, you feel afraid if I reach Canada, 
and there should be war with England, that I will take 
up arms against my country. Sir, I have no country 
but the grave ; and I'll seek freedom there before I 
will be taken back to slavery. There is no justice for 
me at the South: every right of my race is trampled in 
the dust, until humanity bleeds at every pore. I am 
bound for Canada, and woe to him that shall attempt to 



288 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

arrest me ! If it comes to the worst, I will die fighting 
for freedom. 7 -- " I honor your courage/' exclaimed Squire 
Loonris, as he sprang from his seat ? and walked rapidly 
to and fro the room. "It is too bad," continued he, 
" that such men should be enslaved in a land whose 
Declaration of Independence proclaims all men to be 
free and equal. I will aid you in any thing that I can. 
What is your name ? " — "I have no name/ 7 said the 
fugitive. "I once had a name, — it was William, — 
but my master's nephew came to live with him ; and as I 
was a house-servant, and the young master and I would, 
at times, get confused in the same name, orders were 
given for me to change mine. From that moment, I re- 
solved, that, as slavery had robbed me of my liberty and 
my name, I would not attempt to have another till I was 
free. So, sir, for once, you have a man standing before 
you without a name. 77 — " I will name you George Loomis/ 7 
said the squire. " I accept it/ 7 returned the fugitive, 
and shall try never to dishonor it. 77 

True to their promises, his new friends provided for 
his immediate wants, and, as soon as a favorable op- 
portunity occurred, started him on his journey north. 
George reached Canada in a few weeks without further 
adventure, and settled near the city of Toronto, where 
he resided, engaged in honest labors and enjoying the 
fruits of his industry, until the breaking-out of the Re- 
bellion, when he returned to the United States, eager 
to take part in the struggle. Owing to the fairness 
of his complexion, he readily passed for a white man, 
and enlisted as such in a Michigan regiment in 1863. 
He was with Gen. Grant's army at the siege of 
Vicksburg ; and, after the surrender of that strong- 
hold, the regiment to. which George belonged was 



, A THRILLING INCIDENT OF THE WAR. 289 

stationed in the town. Here the quadroon had ample 
opportunity of conversing with the freedmen, which he 
often did, for he had not lost his interest in the race. 
Going into a negro cabin one day, and getting into con- 
versation with an old woman, he found that she was 
originally from the state of Kentucky, and lastly from 
Missouri, and that they were from the same neighbor- 
hood. As each related the experience through which 
they had passed, the interview became more and more 
interesting. Often they eyed each other, but there was 
nothing to indicate that they had ever met before. 

However, this was not to last long, for George, in 
describing the parting scene with his mother, riveted 
the attention of the old woman, who, at its close, said, 
" Dat scripshun peers like my gal, but you can't 
be no kin to her. But what's your name?" eagerly 
asked the woman. " William was my name, but 
I adopted the one I am known by now," replied 
he. " You don't mean to say dat you is William ? " 
"Yes: that was the name I was known by." — "Well," 
continued she, " I had a son named William ; but he 
run away, and massa went arter him, and catched him, 
and sold him down the riber to de cotton-planter. So 
he said when he came back." The features of the two 
had changed so much in thirty years, that they could not 
discover in each other any traces whatever of former ac- 
quaintance. " My son," said the old woman, " had a scar 
on his right hand." George sprang from his seat, and held 
out the right hand. Tremblingly she put on her glasses, 
seized the hand, and screamed, " Oh, oh, oh ! I can't 
'blieve dis is you. My son had a scar, a deep scar, on the 
side of the left foot." Quick as thought, George took off 
the boot, and held up his foot, while the old woman was 



290 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 



wiping her glasses ; for they were wet with tears. A 
moment more, and mother and son were locked in each 
other's arms. The dead was alive, the lost was found. 
God alone knew the sorrow that had visited the two 
since they had last met. Great was the rejoicing at this 
unexpected meeting ; and the old woman would, for sev- 
eral days, cause Loomis to take off his boot, and show 
her the scar ; and she would sit, hold the hand, and view 
the unmistakable cut which helped her to identify her 
long-lost son. And she would weep, and exclaim, " Dis 
is de doins ob de Lord ! ' ; 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 



PROGRESS AND JUSTICE. 



Great Change in the Treatment of Colored Troops. — Negro Appoint- 
ments. — Justice to the Black Soldiers. — Steamer " Planter." — Pro- 
gress. — The Paymaster at last. — John S Rock. 

The month of May, 1864, saw great progress in the 
treatment of the colored troops by the Government of 
the United States. The circumstances were more favor- 
able for this change than they bad hitherto been. Slavery 
had been abolished in the District of Columbia, Mary- 
land, and Missouri : the heroic assault on Fort Wagner, 
the unsurpassed bravery exhibited at Port Hudson, the 
splendid fighting at Olustee and Honey Hill, had raised 
the colored men in the estimation of the nation. Presi- 
dent Lincoln and his advisers had seen their error, and 
begun to repair the wrong. The year opened with the 
appointment of Dr. A. T. Augusta, a colored gentleman, 
as surgeon of colored volunteers, and he was at once as- 
signed to duty, with the rank of major. Following this, 
was the appointment, by Gov. Andrew of Massachu- 
setts, of Sergt. Stephen A. Swailes, of Company F, Fifty- 
fourth Massachusetts Regiment, as second lieutenant. 

M. R. Delany, M.D., was soon after appointed a major 
of negro volunteers, and assigned to duty at Charles- 
ton, S.C. W. P. Powell, jun., received an appointment as 
surgeon, about the same time. 

The steamer "Planter," since being brought out of 

291 



292 ' THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

Charleston by Robert Small, was under the command of 
a Yankee, who, being ordered to do service where the 
vessel would be liable to come under the fire of rebel 
guns, refused to obey: whereupon Lieut.-Col. Elwell, 
without consultation with any higher authority, issued 
the following order, which, for simple justice to a brave 
and loyal negro, officially acknowledged, has seldom been 
equalled in this or any other department. It is unneces- 
sary to say that Robert Small took command of the ves- 
sel, and faithfully discharged the duty required of him. 

" Office of Chief Quartermaster, 
Port Royal, S.C., Nov. 26, 1863. 

u Capt. A. T. Dutton, Chief Assistant Quartermaster, Folly and 

Morris Islands. 

" Sir, — You will please place Robert Small in charge 
of the United-States transport l Planter,' as captain. 
He brought her out of Charleston Harbor more than a 
year ago, running under the guns of Sumter, Moultrie, 
and the other defences of that stronghold. He is an ex- 
cellent pilot, of undoubted bravery, and in every respect 
worthy of the position. This is due him as a proper 
recognition of his heroism and services. The present 
captain is a coward, though a white man. Dismiss him, 
therefore, and give the steamer to this brave black 

Saxon. 

" Respectfully, your obedient servant, 

" J. J. ELWELL. 
u Chief Quartermaster Department South. 

It may interest some to know that the above order 
was immediately approved by Gen. Gillmore. 

The following is very complimentary to Capt. Small : — 
" It was indeed a privilege to enter Charleston, as we 



PROGRESS AND JUSTICE. 293 

did recently through the courtesy of Major-Gen. Saxton, 
in such a steamer as ' The Planter/ and with such a 
captain as Robert Small. It was their first appearance 
in the harbor since the memorable morning of their de- 
parture in 1862. The fog detained us for a few hours 
on our arrival at the bar. When it cleared away, you 
can imagine with what cheer our anchor came up, and 
with what smiles and satisfaction the vessel and her 
commander swept by the silenced and dismantled Sum- 
ter, and hauled in to the waiting, wondering wharves of 
the ruined city. Wherever we went on shore, we had 
only to say to the colored people, ' The Planter and 
Capt. Small are at the dock ; ' and away they all hurried 
to greet the well-known, welcome guests. * Too sweet 
to think of/ cried one noble-looking old man, who had 
evidently waited long for the good news of our day, as 
he hastened to join the crowd. 

" We met Small afterwards, walking in the streets in 
peace and safety. When our rambles about the hum- 
ble place were over, and we prepared to depart, the 
scene about the steamer was one that we can never for- 
get. A goodly company of the leading colored people 
were arranging for a public meeting with Gen. Saxton 
in the largest hall of the city, to learn from his lips the 
purposes of our Government on the following week. 
Their interview over, they joined a large crowd of their 
own color upon the pier. Small was in the midst of 
them, with a couple of white men in conversation with 
him. Curiosity led us near. He introduced us to the 
builder of the vesel, and the maker of the engine and 
boilers. ' I put the polish on/ he added laughingly. 
They withdrew towards a couple of their own complex- 
ion. He pointed out the principal person in the group, 



294 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

to the general, as Col. Ferguson, the original owner of 
' The Planter/ and of all her old hands, except Small. 
His owner did not show himself. 

" Upon our casting off, the colored folks raised at first 
a few feeble cheers, from a lurking regard to the pale 
listeners behind them ; but, when the general before them 
called for three more for Capt. Small, every arm was 
swung, and every voice was raised' till the welkin rang. 
1 The Planter ? has been placed under Gen. Saxton's or- 
ders. She will be often seen in these waters. Her new 
claims to her name are to be manifested in her planting 
the freedmen of the captured city upon the neighboring 
sea-islands and the mainland, on their own homesteads, 
for the cultivation of their own crops of cotton, rice, 
corn, and whatever else they and their families, or 
the world, may need. A great price was once put upon 
Small's head. He and all his crew, white and black 
alike, will be worth their weight in gold if they but con- 
tinue to serve the general and the Government as we 
were sure they did on their first return-trip to Charles- 
ton Harbor. " 

There was one step more which the Government had 
taken, that sent a thrill of joy to many hearts. It was 
paying the men on the battle-field what it promised. The 
following announcement was made by Gen. Saxton, at 
Beaufort, S.C., May 22 : — 

" Colored soldiers, I have just received intelligence 
that the National Government, after a long and desperate 
struggle, has decided to put you on an equality with her 
white troops, making your pay equal with theirs. Now 
that she has done justice to you, I want you to do jus- 
tice to her and justice to yourselves. Show yourselves 
men ; and the way to show yourselves men is to be brave 



PROGRESS AND JUSTICE. 295 

and stout-hearted. I want you to be particular in the 
execution of your l Shoulder arms/ your l Charge bayo- 
nets.' Learn to shoot well at your enemies. You can 
do it, can't you ? " (" Yes, sir ! n was the answer from the 
columns.) "Well, do it, then. There is no reason why 
you should not make just as good soldiers as the whites. 
Do it, then ; hold your heads up, and be fearless and 
brave men. Two years ago, when I came here, I was the 
first to organize a colored regiment into the United-States 
service ; viz., the First South-Carolina Regiment. The 
first lesson I taught them was to hold up their heads be- 
fore white men, and to say No. And now they are good 
soldiers. I would just as soon have the First South- 
Carolina Regiment to-day with which to go into the field 
and face the enemy as any white soldiers in the service." 
The paymaster shortly after made his appearance, and 
paid off the men ; and thus justice, though long kept 
back, at last came. Great was the rejoicing, both in 
the army by the men, and at their homes by their fami- 
lies and friends. Progress is slow, but sure. Every- 
where the colored population appeared to be gaining 
their equality, and rising to a higher level of humanity. 
The acknowledgment of the civil rights of the negro had 
already been granted in the admission of John S. Rock, 
a colored man, to practise law in all the courts within 
the jurisdiction of the United States. The Supreme 
Court at Washington, Chief-Justice Chase presiding, did 
not heap any more honor on Mr. Rock, by this admission, 
than they gained by having so distinguished a scholar 
as a member of the bar. Mr. John F. Shorter, who was 
promoted to a lieutenancy in Company D, Fifty-fifth 
Massachusetts Regiment, was by trade a carpenter, and 
was residing in Delaware County, 0., when the call was 



£96 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

made for colored troops. Severely wounded at the bat- 
tle of Honey Hill, S.C.,on the 30th of November, 1864, he 
still remained with his regiment, hoping to be of service. 
At the conclusion of the war, he returned home, but never 
recovered from his wound, and died a few days after his 
arrival. James Monroe Trotter, promoted for gallantry, 
was wounded at the battle of Honey Hill. He is a native 
of Grand Gulf, Miss ; removed to Cincinnati, ; was edu- 
cated at the Albany (0.) Manual Labor University, where 
he distinguished himself for his scholarly attainments. 
He afterwards became a school-teacher, which position 
he filled with satisfaction to the people of Muskingum 
and Pike Counties, 0., and with honor to himself. Enlist- 
ing as a private in the Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Regi- 
ment, on its organization, he returned with it to Boston 
as a lieutenant, an office honorably earned. 

William H. Dupree, a native of Petersburg, Va., w r as 
brought up and educated at Chillicothe, 0. He en- 
listed in the Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Regiment, on its 
formation, as a private, was soon made orderly-sergeant, 
and afterwards promoted to a lieutenancy for bravery 
on the«field of battle. 

Charles L. Mitchel, promoted to a lieutenancy in the 
Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Regiment for gallantry at the 
battle of Honey Hill, where he was severely wounded 
(losing a limb), is a native of Hartford, Conn., and son 
of Mr. William A. Mitchel of that city. Lieut. 
Mitchel served an apprenticeship to William H. Bur- 
leigh, in the office of the old " Charter Oak," in Hartford, 
where he became an excellent printer. For five or six 
years previous to entering the army, he was employed 
in different printing-offices in Boston, the last of which 
was " The Liberator/' edited by William Lloyd Garrison, 



PROGRESS OF JUSTICE. 297 

who never speaks of Lieut. Mitchel but in words of the 
highest commendation. Gen. A. S. Hartwell, late colo- 
nel of the Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Regiment, makes 
honorable mention of Lieut. Mitchel. 

The citizens of Boston in Ward Six, where he has so 
long resided, and who know him well, have shown their 
appreciation of Lieut. MitchePs worth by electing him 
to represent them in the Massachusetts Legislature, — 
an office which he is every way qualified to fill. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

FOURTH-OF-JULY CELEBRATION AT THE HOME OF JEFF. 

DAVIS. 

Fourth-of-July Celebration at the Home of Jeff. Davis in Mississippi. — 
The Trip. —Joe Davis's Place. — Jeff.'s Place. — The Dinner.— 
Speeches and Songs. — Lively Times. — Keturn to Vicksburg. 

By invitation of fhe Committee of Arrangements, a 
party of teachers and their escorts, and other friends of 
the freedmen, embarked on board " The Diligent/ 7 on 
the morning of the 4th inst. " The Diligent " left the 
levee at Vicksburg soon after seven o'clock, a.m., and 
made a pleasant trip in about three hours, down the 
river, stopping at the landing at Davis's Bend ; whence 
the party were conveyed in ambulances, wagons, bug- 
gies, and other vehicles, to the late residence of Jeffer- 
son Davis, about two miles from said landing. 

DAVIS'S BEND. 

This is one of the most extraordinary bends of the 
wonderful Mississippi River, and has received its name 
from the fact of the settlement, on the peninsula formed 
by the bend, of two members of the Davis Family, known 
as "Jeff." and "Joe." This peninsula is some twelve 
miles in length ; and, at the point where it is attached to 
the main land of the State of Mississippi, it is so narrow, 
that the enterprising planters have dug a canal across, 

298 



HOME OF JEFF. DAVIS. 299 

not unlike the celebrated Butler Canal of Petersburg 
fame, although not near so long. This canal is called 
the " cut-off; " and, in high water, the peninsula becomes, 
in fact, an island. This tract of land is of great fertility, 
being entirely a deposit of the rich soil washed from the 
prairies of the Great West. On this tract are some six 
plantations, of from eight hundred to twelve hundred 
acres each. Two of the largest and best of these were 
owned by Jeff, and Joe Davis, and are known now as 
"The Jeff, and Joe places/ 7 The form of this peninsula 
is such that a few companies of soldiers, with one or two 
stockades, can keep out an army of rebels ; and the in- 
habitants, although frequently surrounded by the hordes 
of Southern murderers and thieves on the opposite banks 
of the river and canal, dwell in peace and comparative 
security. In fact, this site, from being the home of 
traitors and oppressors of the poor, has become a sort 
of earthly paradise for colored refugees. There they 
flock in large numbers, and, like Lazarus of old, are per- 
mitted as it were, to repose in " Father Abraham's 
bosom. " The rich men of the Southern Confederacy, 
now homeless wanderers, occasionally cry across for the 
Lazarus whom they have oppressed and despised ; but 
he is not sent unto them, because, between the two 
parties, " there is a great gulf fixed ; so that they which 
would pass from hence cannot." On this freedman's 
paradise, parties for cultivating the soil are organized 
under the superintendence of missionaries ; each party 
cultivating from ten to one hundred acres, with a fair 
prospect of realizing handsomely. These efforts are 
aided by the Government ; rations, teams, &c, being 
supplied and charged to each party, to be deducted 
from the proceeds of their crops. Cotton is chiefly cul- 
tivated, and some very handsome stands appear. 



300 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 



THE "JOE PLACE." 

The "Joe Place" is nearest the landing. The fine 
brick house, however, is nearly demolished ; but the 
cottage used as a sort of law library and office is re- 
maining uninjured. The negro-quarters also remain. 

THE u JEFF. PLACE." 

k 

The " Jeff, place n is also a very fine plantation. The 
residence has not been injured, except the door-locks, 
and one or two marble mantels broken up, apparently 
for trophies. The Jeff, furniture has been removed ; but 
the rooms are still furnished with furniture brought 
here. 

THE HOUSE THAT JEFF. BUILT. 

The house is, in its ground-plan, in the form of a 
cross, — but one floor, with large rooms and ample veran- 
, das. The portico in front is supported with pillars, and 
these form the only ornamental features of the house, 
except such as were added for this occasion by the 
artistic touches of our Northern sisters. Of these were 
festoons, wreaths, stars, and garlands mysteriously 
woven in evergreens and flowers. Over the portico 
entrance outside were the following inscriptions, the 
letters being formed by cedar foliage : — 

il THE HOUSE THAT JEFF. BUILT." 
" WELCOME." 

The latter motto was arched, and, with the festoons, 
made a beautiful appearance. 



HOME OP JEFF. DAVIS. 301 

Inside were beautiful stars and garlands of flowers ; 
and over the exit at the back-door, the following 
inscription, surmounted by a star: — 

1 'exit traitor." 

It was facetiously remarked by an observer, that the 
moral was, — 

" Down with the traitor, 
And up with the star." 

We understood that to Miss Lee, of Pennsylvania, and 
Miss Jennie Huddleson, of Indiana, the party was in- 
debted for those ingenious and appropriate devices. 
Very likely ; for wit and satire for traitors, and a cordial 
welcome to the loyal and patriotic, are characteristics of 
these whole-souled missionaries. 

The reception-rooms were also decorated with flowers ; 
and every thing around showed that " gentle hands n 
had laid on u the last touches " of fragrance, grace, and 
beauty. 

These " ladies of the Management " were dressed in 
neat " patriotic prints : " they needed no addition to 
their toilets to add to the charming air of comfort which 
they so appropriately infused. Their smiles of welcome 
needed no verbal explanation ; and the heartiness with 
which they were engaged in their labors of love, and 
the evidence of their success in all the surroundings, 
showed that they perfectly understood the science of 
making home happy. t Whether they have read Mrs. 
H. B. Stowe's "House and Home Papers" in " The 
Atlantic," we know not, but there are many others, 
besides that literary lady (Mrs. Stowe), who understand 
how to keep house ; by magic touches to turn the 



302 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

most simple objects into luxuries of ornamentation. 
We suspect also that Mrs. M. Watson and Miss Lizzie 
Findley had been engaged in these preparations, al* 
though appearing more in the character of guests. 
There were some other ladies, to whom we had not the 
honor of an introduction, who, doubtless, deserve partic- 
ular mention; but your reporter, as the sequel of his 
story will show, only received his appointment as a pub- 
lication committee after all was over, and, consequently, 
if he should omit anybody's name that deserves mention, 
this must be his apology. He now declares his desire 
to be just to all, and especially to those whose devotion 
and patriotism rendered the 4th of July, 1864, the hap- 
piest day of the year. 

THE GROUNDS. 

On the grounds in front of the residence, the gunboat 
crew suspended a string of signal colors, on each side 
of the " starry banner," presenting an effect amid 
the dense foliage of the live-oaks, and the gray moss, 
" altogether beauteous to look upon ; " while on the 
tables under the trees were spread things not only 
u pleasant to the sight," but "good for food." And 
when we saw these pleasing objects, the " work of 
their hands," and the merry, happy faces of the guests 
and their " escorts," and reflected that the sable sons, 
by a guard of whom we were surrounded, were " no 
longer slaves ; " that they had, with thousands of their 
brethren, been brought out from the house of bondage, 
by the " God of Abraham ; " that the very house now 
occupied by missionaries and teachers had, but a year 
ago, been in the service of despotism, built, in fact, as 



HOME OF JEFF. DAVIS. 303 

a temple of slavery by the great chief, who preferred to 
rule in a miserable petty despotism to serving in a 
great and magnanimous republic, — we could but think 
that Heaven looked approvingly upon the scene; that 
" God saw every thing that he had made, and behold ! it 
was very good." 

' THE EXERCISES. 

Eev. Dr. Warren conducted the exercises as presi- 
dent of the occasion ; and he did it with that ease, free- 
dom, and regard for the rights and interests of all, which 
usually characterize his public and social conduct. He 
opened the proceedings, under a grove of trees in front 
of the house, with an appropriate prayer, and then 
called upon those appointed to take part. 

Mr. Roundtree read the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence in a clear, emphatic, and impressive manner. 
It was listened to with becoming reverence for the 
great truths it contains, by both the white and colored 
races. It is quite improbable that these self-evident 
truths were ever expressed before publicly in this local- 
ity, and within hearing of every one within the " house 
that Jeff, built." 

When this place was first taken by our troops, the 
following verse was found written on the wall : — 

" Let Lincoln send his forces here ! i 

We'll lick 'em like blue blazes, 
And send them yelping back to where 
They sung their nigger praises.'* 

Rev. Mr. Livermore, of Wisconsin, delivered an appro- 
priate oration. 

The meeting then adjourned for dinner. 



304 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

A gentle shower at this time rendered the air cool 
and pleasant, but made it necessary to remove the 
dining-tables to the house. 

THE DINNER. 

A sumptuous dinner was served on the veranda at 
the back of the mansion. There was an abundance of 
all that could be desired. This being concluded, the fol- 
lowing sentiments were presented, and responded to in 
an impromptu but appropriate manner by the various 
speakers : — 

REGULAR TOASTS. 

1. The Day we celebrate: The old ship was launched in '76, the bow- 
anchors cast out last year at Vicksburg and Gettysburg : may the storm- 
anchors be dropped to-day at Richmond and Atlanta ! 

Response by Mr. Israel Lombard. 

2. The President : Proved honest and wise by four years of unprece- 
dented trial : we shall keep him there. 

Responded to by Dr. Wright. 

3. Lieut.-Gen. Grant : We can tie to him in a gale. 

Responded to by Col. Clark. 

4. The house that Jeff, built. 

Responded to by Capt. Powell. 

The following song composed for the occasion was 
led by Mr. McConnell: — 

"THE HOUSE THAT JEFF. BUILT." 

" Air. — ' Aula 1 Lang Syne. 1 

" How oft within these airy halls 
The traitor of the day 
Has heard ambition's trumpet-calls, 
Or dreamed of war's array ! 



HOME OF JEFF. DAVIS. 305 

Or of an empire dreamed, whose base 

Millions of blacks should be ! 
Aha ! before this day's sweet face 

Where can his visions be ? 

Those empire dreams shall be fulfilled, 

But not as. rebels thought : 
Like water at the cistern spilled, 

Their boasts shall come to nought. 
From gulf to lake, from sea to sea, 

Behold our country grand ! 
The very home of Liberty, 

And guarded by her hand. 

We revel in his halls to-day : 

Next year where will he be ? 
A dread account he has to pay : 

May we be there to see ! 
And now for country, truth, and right, 

Our heritage all free ; 
We'll live and die, we'll sing and fight : 

The Union ! three times three. 

5. The Army and Navy: Veterans of three years. The heart of the 
nation beats anxiously at the cry, " Onward to victory ! " 

.Response by Dr. Foster. 

6. Our Patriot Dead : Silence their most speaking eulogy. 

7. The Union : The storm will but root it the more firmly. 

Response by Eev. A. J. Compton. 

" The Star-spangled Banner/ 7 — sung by the whole com- 
pany, led by Mr. McConnell. 

8. Missionaries to Preedmen : Peace has its heroes. 

Response by Rev. Mr. Buckley, chaplain Forty- 
seventh United-States Colored Infantry. 

9. Gen Sherman, second in command: " All I am I owe to my Gov- 
ernment, and nothing could tempt me to sacrifice my honor or my alle- 
giance." 

20 



306 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

Response by Capt. Gilpin, Commissary of Subsistence. 

10. The Freedmen : Slaves yesterday, to-day free : what shall they be 
to-morrow ? 

The freedmen sung the following song : — 

" De Lord he makes us free indeed 
In his own time an' way. 
We plant de rice and cotton seed, 

And see de sprout some day : 
We know it come, but not de why, — 

De Lord know more dan we. 
We 'spected freedom by an' by ; 
An' now we all are free. 

Praise de Lord ! Praise de Lord ! 
For now we all are free. 

De Norf is on de side of right, 

An' full of men, dey say ; 
An' dere, when poor man work, at night 

He sure to get his pay. 
De Lord he glad dey are so good, 

And make dem bery strong ; 
An* when dey called to give deir blood 

Dey all come right along. 

Praise de Lord ! Praise de Lord ! 
Dey all come right along. 

Deir blue coats cover all de groun', 

An' make it like de sky ; 
An' every grayback loafm' round 

He tink it time to fly. 
We not afraid : we bring de child, 

An' stan' beside de door, 
An/ oh ! we hug it bery wild, 

An' keep it ebermore. 

Praise de Lord ! Praise de Lord ! 
We keep it ebermore. 

De massa's come back from his tramp ; 

'Pears he is broken quite : 
He takes de basket to tie camp 

For rations cbery night. 



HOME OF JEFF. DAVIS. 307 

i 

Dey fought him when he loud and strong, 

Dey fed him when he low : 
Dey say dey will forgive the wrong, 
An' bid him 'pent an' go. 

Praise de Lord ! Praise de Lord I 
Dey bid him 'pent an' go. 

De rice is higher far dis year, 

De cotton taller grow ; 
De lowest corn-silk on de ear 

Is higher than de hoe. 
De Lord he lift up every ting 

'Cept rebel in his grave ; 
De negro bress de Lord, an* sing : 

He is no longer slave. 

Praise de Lord ! Praise de Lord ! 
De negro no more slave." 

13. Our Colored Troops : Deserving of freedom because they fight 
like men. 

Response by Lieut. Wakeman. 

Song : " Babylon is fallen." 

The party, after selecting a few simple trophies, such 
as fig-branches for walking-canes, large pond-lilies, flow- 
ers, wreaths, and bouquets, returned to the landing, and 
re-embarked for Vicksburg. 

CLOSING EXERCISES. 

On the boat, the following business was transacted : — 
Vote of thanks* to Col. Thomas and staff for getting 
up the celebration ; to the Orator of the Day, Parson 
Livermore ; to the President, Rev. Dr. Warren, who 
made a brief response ; and also to Capt. Wightman 
and officers of " The Diligent." 

The following song was then sung by a young con- 
traband : — 



308 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION, 

" We heard de proclamation, massa hush it as he will : 
De bird he sing it to us, hoppin' on de cotton-hill ; 
And de possum up de gum-tree he couldn't keep it still. 

Father Abraham has spoken, and de message has been sent ; 
De prison-doors he opened, and out de prisoners went 
To join de sable army of de ' African descent/ 

Dey said, ' Now colored bredren, you shall be forever free, 
From the first of January, eighteen hundred and sixty-three ; ' 
We heard it in de riber goin' rushin' to de sea. 

Den fall in, colored bredren, you'd better do it soon ; 
Don't you hear de drum a-beatin' de Yankee Doodle tune ? 
We are wid you now dis mornin' ; we'll be far away at noon." 

Cheers were given for Abraham Lincoln, and groans 
for Jeff. Davis. 

The song, " The House that Jeff. Built/ 7 was again 
sung ; and Capt. Gilpin, Commissary of Subsistence, ap- 
pointed a committee to furnish a copy of the same to 
u The New- York Tribune/ 7 and also to Jeff. Davis. 

Capt. Henry S. Clubb, Assistant Quartermaster, was 
appointed a committee to furnish a report of the pro- 
ceedings of the day to " The Vicksburg Daily Herald." 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

GALLANTBY, LOYALTY, AND KINDNESS OF THE NEGRO. 

The Nameless Hero at Fair Oaks. — The Chivalry whipped by their Forme* 
Slaves. — Endurance of the Blacks. — Man in Chains. — One Negro 
whips Three Rebels. — Gallantry. — Outrages on the Blacks. — Kindness 
of the Negroes. — Welcome. 

The gallantry and loyalty of the blacks during the 
Rebellion is a matter of history, and volumes might be 
written upon that subject. I give here a few instances 
out of the many I have gathered : — 

" At the bloody battle of Fair Oaks, Va., the rebels, dur- 
ing the first day's fight, drove Gen. Casey's division from 
their camping-ground, and rested for the night, confident 
that the morrow would give them a chance to drive the 
Yankee invaders beyond the Chickahominy ; but, just 
at daylight that morning, Heintzelman's corps re-enforced 
our line, and at daybreak were hurled against the rebel 
foe. For a long time, the issue was doubtful ; the line 
swayed to and fro ; but at last the Excelsior Brigade — 
the heroes of Williamsburg — were ordered to charge. 
That charge is a matter of history. It gave us the bat- 
tle-ground of Fair Oaks. 

" During the month of June, that brigade held the 
ground they won, and skirmishes with the rebels were 
of daily occurrence. One afternoon, word was sent to 
Gen. Sickles that the enemy was advancing in force, 
and every preparation was at once made for battle. A 
few shots were heard from pickets but a few hundred 

309 



310 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION, 

yards in advance of our battery, and then all was quiet, 
What meant that quietness ? What were the rebels do- 
ing? Several orderlies sent out to the pickets failed 
to bring any satisfactory intelligence. Gen. Sickles 
turned to Lieut. Palmer, one of his aides, and acting 
assistant adjutant-general, and directed him to take a 
squad of cavalry, and ride cautiously out to the first bend 
in the road, and communicate with our pickets. 

" Palmer was a noble fellow, — young, handsome, a 
perfect gentleman, a graceful rider, a gallant soldier. 
He was the pride of the brigade. Forgetful of the caiv 
tion given him, with the impetuosity characteristic of 
youth, he dashed forward at a full gallop, with sabre 
drawn. He came to the first bend in the road, and 
(fatal mistake) kept on. He came to the second bend, 
and, as he turned it, directly across the road was a com- 
pany of rebel infantry drawn up to receive him. They 
fired. One ball crashed through that handsome face 
into his brain, while another tore the arm that bore aloft 
his trusty blade. 

" The shots were heard at the battery ; and in a mo- 
ment Palmer's riderless horse, bleeding from a wound in 
its neck, galloped from the woods, followed by the squad 
of cavalry, who told to the general the untimely fate of 
his aide. 

" ' Boys/ said the general to the veterans who clus- 
tered around to hear the story, ' Lieut. Palmer's body 
lies out in that road.' Not a word more needed saying. 
Quickly the men fell in, and a general advance of the 
line was made to secure it. 

" Whilst the cavalrymen were telling the story, a negro- 
servant of Lieut. Palmer's was standing by. Unnoticed, 
he left the group; down that road, the Williamsburg 



GALLANTRY OF THE NEGRO. 311 

Turnpike, he went. He passed our picket-line, and alone 
and unattended he walked along that avenue of death 
to so many, not knowing what moment he would be laid 
low by a rebel bullet, or be made a prisoner to undergo 
that still worse death, a life of slavery. Upon the ad- 
vance of our line, that faithful servant was found by the 
side of his dead master, — faithful in life, and faithful 
amid all the horrors of the battle-field, even in the jaws 
of death. 

" None but those who knew the locality — the gallant 
men that make up Hooker's division — can appreciate the 
heroism that possessed that contraband. That road was 
lined with sharpshooters. A wounded man once lay in 
it three days, neither party daring to rescue him. The 
act of that heroic, unknown (I regret that I cannot 
recall his name) but faithful contraband, was one of the 
most daring of the war, and prompted by none other than 
the noblest feelings known to the human breast. 77 — New- 
York Independent. 

" In Camp, Bermuda Hundred, Va., May 26, 1864. 

11 The chivalry of Fitzhugh Lee, and his cavalry di- 
vision, was badly worsted in the contest last Tuesday 
with negro troops composing the garrison at Wilson's 
Landing. Chivalry made a gallant fight, however. The 
battle began at half-past twelve, p.m., and ended at 
six o'clock ; when chivalry retired, disgusted and de- 
feated. Lee's men dismounted far in the rear, and fought 
as infantry. They drove in the pickets and skirmishers 
to the intrenchments, and several times made valiant 
charges upon our works. To make an assault, it was 
necessary to come across an * open ' in front of our 
position, up to the very edge of a deep and impassable 



812 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

ravine. The rebels, with deafening yells, made furious 
onsets ; but the negroes did not flinch, and the mad 
assailants, discomfited, turned to cover with shrunken 
ranks. The rebel fighting was very wicked. It showed 
that Lee's heart was bent on taking the negroes at any 
cost. Assaults on the centre having failed, the rebels 
tried first the left and then the right flank, with no 
greater success. When the battle was over, our loss 
footed up one man killed outright, twenty wounded, and 
two missing. Nineteen rebels were prisoners in our 
hands. Lee's losses must have been very heavy. The 
proof thereof was left on the ground. Twenty-five 
rebel bodies lay in the woods unburied ; and pools of 
blood unmistakably told of other victims taken away. 
The estimate, from all the evidence carefully considered, 
puts the enemy's casualties at two hundred. Among the 
corpses Lee left on the field was that of Major Breckin- 
ridge, of the Second Virginia Cavalry. 

" There is no hesitation here in acknowledging the 
soldierly qualities which the colored men engaged in 
this fight have exhibited. Even the officers who have 
hitherto felt no confidence in them are compelled to 
express themselves mistaken. Gen. Wild, commanding 
the post, says that the troops stood up to their work 
like veterans." — Correspondence of the New-York Times. 

" The conduct of the colored troops, by the way, in 
the actions of the last few days, is described as superb. 
An Ohio soldier said to me to-day, ( I never saw men 
fight with such desperate gallantry as those negroes did. 
They advanced as grim and stern as death ; and, when 
within reach of the enemy, struck about them with a 
pitiless vigor that was almost fearful. 7 Another soldier 



GALLANTRY OF THE NEGRO. 313 

said to me, l These negroes never shrink nor hold back, 
no matter what the order. Through scorching heat and 
pelting storms, if the order comes, they march with' 
prompt, ready feet.' Such praise is great praise, and it 
is deserved. The negroes here who have been slaves 
are loyal to a man, and, on our occupation of Fredericks- 
burg, pointed out the prominent secessionists, who were 
at once seized by our cavalry, and put in safe quarters. 
In a talk with a group of these faithful fellows, I discov- 
ered in them all a perfect understanding of the issues 
of the conflict, and a grand determination to prove 
themselves worthy of the place and privileges to which 
they are to be exalted." — New -York Herald. 

" Carrollton, La., June 2, 18G4. 

u I am writing in the camp of the Twelfth Connecticut 
Regiment, and about here are encamped the Nineteenth 
Army Corps, under marching-orders for Morganza, neai 
the mouth of the Red River. In this tent sits a man, — 
unfortunate because black, — once a slave, but free now, 
a member of the grand army of the United States, who 
is courageous, and who will wield a sword or thrust a 
bayonet as vigorously as any, because he has suffered so 
bitterly at the hands of those who would crush his race. 
His crime was remonstrating with his master for beating 
his wife. When our men found him, he was sitting on 
the floor, two long chains passing over his shoulders, and 
fastened to a staple ; and over him stood four soldiers 
with muskets to prevent his escape. He is not only 
faithful; but he is gentlemanly, intelligent, and interest- 
ing in conversation and appearance. His brave heart is 
full of patriotism, and he is willing to serve or die for 
his country." — Springfield Rejncblican. 



814 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. f 

An instance of the daring of negroes in that section 
is told by a Lake Providence (Louisiana) correspondent 
of " The Philadelphia Inquirer : " — 

u Recently a black man, after several days' urgent re- 
quest for a musket and rounds of ammunition, succeeded 
in securing his wish. He set out in the night, and by 
morning reached the vicinity of a rebel guard. He 
crept cautiously forward, but was seen and watched. 
Suddenly the sharp crack of rifles brought him to his 
feet. Before him were three rebel soldiers. He in- 
stantly brought his musket to his shoulder, and fired. 
One rebel fell dead. The negro, by the time the bewil- 
derment of the other two had passed off, was upon them 
with uplifted musket, threatening them with its imme- 
diate descent, unless they surrendered at once. They 
acquiesced in a hurry. Leaving the dead rebel to the 
dogs, with the other two in tow, the negro returned to 
our lines, and delivered them to the authorities. Since 
this exploit, the negro has made himself useful in scout- 
ing and bringing in information." 

A correspondent of" The Cleveland Leader," writing 
from the headquarters of the Fifty-ninth United-States 
Infantry (colored) at Memphis, under date of June 15, 
gives a detailed and graphic account of the brave fight- 
ing of the colored troops in Gen. Sturgis's command, 
fully confirming previous accounts. The following is 
the material part of the statement : — 

" About sunrise, June 11, the enemy advanced on the 
town of Ripley, and threatened our right, intending to 
cut us off from the Salem Road. Again the colored 
troops were the only ones that could be brought into 
line ; the Fifty-ninth being on the right, and the Fifty- 
fifth on the left, holding the streets. At this time, 



GALLANTRY OF THE NEGRO. 315 

the men had not more than ten rounds of ammunition, 
and the enemy were crowding closer and still closer, 
when the Fifty-ninth were ordered to charge on them, 
which they did in good style, while singing, — 

* We'll rally round the flag, boys.' 

u This charge drove the enemy back, so that both 
regiments retreated to a pine-grove about two hundred 
yards distant. 

" By this time, all the white troops, except one squad- 
ron of cavalry, that formed in the rear, were on the 
road to Salem ; and, when this brigade came up, they, too, 
wheeled and left, and in less than ten minutes this now 
little band of colored troops found themselves flanked. 
They then divided themselves into three squads, and 
charged the enemy's lines ; one squad taking the old 
Corinth Road, then a by-road, to the left. After a few 
miles, they came to a road leading to Grand Junction. 
After some skirmishing, they arrived, with the loss of 
one killed and one wounded. 

" Another and the largest squad covered the retreat 
of the white troops, completely defending them by pick- 
ing up the ammunition thrown away by them, and with 
it repelling the numerous assaults made by the rebel 
cavalry, until they reached Collierville, a distance of 
sixty miles. When the command reached Dan's Mills, 
the enemy attempted to cut it off by a charge ; but the 
colored boys in the rear formed, and repelled the attack, 
allowing the whole command to pass safely on, when 
they tore up the bridge. Passing on to an open coun- 
try, the officers halted, and re-organized the brigade into 
an effective force. They then moved forward until 



316 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

about four, p.m. ; when some Indian flank skirmishers dis- 
covered the enemy, who came up to the left, and in the 
rear, and halted. Soon a portion advanced, when a com- 
pany faced about and fired, emptying three- saddles. 
Prom this time until dark, the skirmishing was constant. 

" A corporal in Company C, Fifty-ninth, was ordered 
to surrender. He let his would-be captor come close to 
him ; when he struck him with the butt of his gun. 

" While the regiment was fighting in a ditch, and the 
order came to retreat, the color-bearer threw out the 
flag, designing to jump out and get it ; but the rebels 
rushed for it, and in the struggle one of the boys knocked 
down with his gun the reb who had the flag, caught it, 
and ran. 

" A rebel, with an oath, ordered one of our men to 
surrender. He, thinking the reb's gun was loaded, 
dropped his gun ; but, on seeing the reb commence load- 
ing, our colored soldier jumped for his gun, and with it 
struck his captor dead. 

" Capt. H., being surrounded by about a dozen reb- 
els, was seen by one of his men, who called several of his 
companions : they rushed forward and fired, killing sev- 
eral of the enemy, and rescued their captain. 

" A rebel came up to one, and said, 'Come, my good 
fellow, go with me and wait on me,' In an instant, the 
boy shot his would-be master dead. 

" Once when the men charged on the enemy, they 
rushed forth with the cry, Remember Fort Pillow. ' 
The rebs called back, and said, l Lee's men killed no 
prisoners.' 

" One man in a charge threw his antagonist to the 
ground, and pinned him fast; and, as he attempted to 
withdraw his bayonet, it came off his gun, and, as he was 



GALLANTRY OF THE NEGRO. 317 

very busy just then, he left him transfixed to mother- 
earth. 

" One man killed a rebel by striking him with the butt 
of his gun, which he broke ; but, being unwilling to stop 
his work, he loaded and fired three times before he 
could get a better gun: the first time, not being cautious, 
the rebound of his gun badly cut his lip. 

" When the troops were in the ditch, three rebels came 
to one man, and ordered him to surrender. His gun 
being loaded, he shot one, and bayoneted another ; and, 
forgetting he could bayonet the third, he turned the butt 
of his gun, and knocked him down." 

Great were the sufferings which the colored people 
had to endure for their fidelity to liberty and the Union 
during the Rebellion. Space will allow me to give but 
one or two instances. 

11 On Monday, Feb. 21, a band of guerillas, command- 
ed by Col. Moore, of Louisiana, made a bold dash upon 
our lines at Waterproof, La., opening with four pieces 
of artillery upon Fort Anderson. Capt. Johnson, of the 
gunboat l No. 9/ was on hand, and, after two hours 7 vig- 
orous shelling, the enemy abandoned the attack. 

" Our loss was three killed. Two colored soldiers, mem- 
bers of the Eleventh Louisiana Volunteers, were cap- 
tured, and afterwards brutally murdered, with an old 
slave known by the sobriquet of l Uncle Peter.' The 
bodies of the two soldiers were discovered the next 
day riddled with bullets. Old Uncle Peter had been 
of great service to our Government in piloting our 
officers to localities where large quantities of cotton 
belonging to the rebel Government were concealed. 
After capturing this old man, the assassins compelled 
him to kneel, with his hands behind his back, in presence 

t 



318 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

of some fifty slaves on one of tlie adjoining plantations ; 
and two Minie-balls pierced his body. They then intimi- 
dated the slaves by threatening to treat all negroes in 
a similar manner whom they caught aiding the Yankees. 

u Through the instrumentality of this faithful old man, 
Capt. Anderson had secured four hundred bales of fine 
cotton marked ' Confederate States of America/ together 
with a hundred and fifty fine horses, and a number of 
mules. The value of the cotton alone was a hundred 
thousand dollais. Among the prisoners captured by our 
forces was Lieut. Austin, adjutant-general on Gen. Har- 
ris's staff, with his fine horses and costly equipments. 
Capt. Anderson succeeded in capturing the murderer of 
old Uncle Peter, and, having plenty of slaves to testify 
who were obliged to witness the infamous crime, he or- 
dered the guilty wretch to be shot; and in a few hours 
the villain paid the penalty of his dastard crime. Another 
one of,the guerillas engaged in this outrage is now in 
our hands, under guard at this place ; and it seems like 
an act of great injustice to our brave soldiers, that such 
outlaws should be treated as prisoners of war. 

" After shooting these three defenceless men, the chiv- 
alrous knights robbed old Uncle Peter of a thousand dol- 
lars in treasury notes, and completely stripped the two 
colored soldiers of all their outer clothing and their boots. 
We hear Northern copperheads, who have never been 
south of Mason and Dixon's Line, constantly prating 
about the unconstitutionality of arming the slaves of 
rebels ; and often these prejudiced people accuse the 
negro troops of cowardice. After the bloody proof at 
Milliken's Bend, Port Hudson, and at Fort Wagner in 
front of Charleston, it would seem that nothing more 
was needed to substantiate the resolution and un- 



KINDNESS OF THE NEGRO. 319 

daunted courage of the slave when arrayed against his 
master, fighting for the freedom of his race. The fol- 
lowing incident speaks for itself: — 

" In the attack on Fort Anderson, Sergt. Robert Thomp- 
son exhibited traits of courage worthy of record. A 
party of eight guerillas surrounded Sergt. Thompson of 
Company I, Eleventh Louisiana, and Corp. Robinson 
of the same regiment. The two prisoners were threat- 
ened with torture and death, and were finally placed in 
charge of three guerillas, while the balance of their party 
were harassing our troops. Seeing a revolver in the 
sergeant's belt, they ordered him to give it up. As he 
fumbled around his belt, he touched the corporal with his 
elbow as a signal to be ready. Drawing it slowly from 
his belt, he cocked it, and, ere the rebel could give the 
alarm, he fell a corpse from his horse. At the same time, 
Corp. Robinson shot another ; and the third guerilla, 
without waiting for further instructions, put the spurs 
to his horse, and in a few seconds was out of sight. The 
two brave men are now on duty ready for another 
guerilla visit." — Correspondence of The Tribune. 

Kindness to Union men and all Northerners was a 
leading trait in the character of the colored people 
of the South throughout the war. James Henri Brown, 
special correspondent of "The New- York Tribune,' 7 
in his very interesting work, " Four years in Se- 
cessia," says, " The negro who had guided us to the 
railway had told us of another of his color to whom we 
could apply for shelter and food at the terminus of our 
second stage. We could not find him until nearly dawn ; 
and, when we did, he directed us to a large barn filled 
with corn-husks. Into that we crept with our drip- 



320 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

ping garments, and lay there for fifteen hours, until wo 
could again venture forth. Floundering about in the 
husks, we lost our haversacks, pipes, and a hat. About 
nine o'clock, we procured a hearty supper from the gen- 
erous negro, who even gave me his hat, — an appropri- 
ate presentation, as one of my companions remarked, by 
an l intelligent contraband ' to the reliable gentleman 
of l The New- York Tribune.' The negro did picket- 
duty while we hastily ate our meal, and stood by his 
blazing fire. The old African and his wife gave us 
'God bless you, massa ! ' with trembling voice and 
moistened eyes, as we parted from them with grateful 
hearts. l God bless negroes ! ' say I, with earnest lips. 
During our entire captivity, and after our escape, they 
were ever our firm, brave, unflinching friends. We 
never made an appeal to them they did not answer. They 
never hesitated to do us a service at the risk even of 
life ; and, under the most trying circumstances, revealed 
a devotion and a spirit of self-sacrifice that were heroic. 

u The magic word c Yankee/ opened all their hearts, 
and elicited the loftiest virtues. They were ignorant, 
oppressed, enslaved ; but they always cherished a sim- 
ple and beautiful faith in the cause of the Union, and its 
ultimate triumph, and never abandoned or turned aside 
from a man who sought food or shelter on his way to 
freedom." 

u On the march of Grant's army from Spottsylvania to 
the North Anna, at intervals of every few miles, families 
of negroes were gathered along the roadside, exchan- 
ging words of salutation to our soldiers as they passed, 
and grinning all over their faces. l Massa's gone away, 
gemmen,' was the answer in almost all cases where the 
query in relation to their master's whereabouts was 



KINDNESS OF THE NEGRO. 321 

raised. ' Specs he gwan to Richmon'. Dun know. He 
went away in a right smart hurry last night : dat's all I 
knows/ A sight of the fine, athletic, plump appearance 
of some of these negroes, of both sexes and all ages, 
would have driven a negro-trader crazy, especially when 
he became convinced of the fact that, according to the 
terms of President Lincoln's proclamation, these negroes 
are free the moment the lines of the Union army closed 
in upon them. It was a pleasing spectacle, and com- 
mingled with not a little pathos, to hear the benedictions 
which the aged and infirm negroes poured out upon our 
soldiers as they marched by. ' Fse been waitin' for 
you/ said an old negro, whose eyesight was almost en- 
tirely gone, and whose head was covered with the frosts 
of some eighty-five winters. l Ah ! Fse been w^aitin' for 
you gemmen some time> I knew you was comin 7 , kase 
I heerd massa and missus often talkin' about you ; ' and 
then the old hero chuckled, and almost ground his ivo- 
ries out of his head. n 

No heroism surpasses that of the poor slave-boy Sam, 
on board the gunboat " Pawnee," who, while passing 
shell from the magazine, had both legs shot away by a 
ball from the rebel guns ; but, still holding the shell, cried 
out at the top of his voice, " Pass up de shell, boys. Neb- 
ber mine me : my time is up." The greatest fidelity of 
the white man to the Union finds its parallel in the 
nameless negro, who, when his master sent him out to 
saddle his horse, mounted the animal, rode in haste to the 
Federal lines, and pointed out the road of safety to the 
harassed, retreating Army of the Potomac ; then, return- 
ing for his wife and children, was caught by the rebels, 
and shot. When the rebels made their raid into the 

State of Pennsylvania, and the governor called the peo- 
21 



322 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

pie to arras for defence, it is a well-known fact that a 
company of colored men from Philadelphia were the first 
to report at Harrisburg for service. These men were 
among the most substantial of the colored citizens in 
point of wealth and moral culture. Yet these patriotic 
individuals, together with all of their class, are disfran- 
chised in that State. 

In the engagement on James Island between the Fifty- 
fourth Massachusetts and the rebels, the latter sur- 
rounded three companies of the former, which were on 
picket-duty, and ordered them to surrender ; the colored 
troops replied by making the best possible use of their 
muskets. In the fight, Sergt. Wilson, of the Fifty-fourth 
Massachusetts, fought bravely, having fired his last cart- 
ridge, used the butt of his gun upon his enemies, and, 
even after being severely wounded, still struggled against 
the foe with his unloaded weapon. The enemy, seeing 
this, called repeatedly to the negro to surrender; but 
Wilson refused, and fought till he was shot dead. 



I 



CHAPTER XL. 

FALL OF THE CONFEDERACY, AND DEATH OF PRESIDENT 

LINCOLN. 

Flight of Jeff. Davis from Richmond. — Visit of President Lincoln to the 
Rebel Capital. — Welcome by the Blacks. — Surrender of Gen. Lee.— 
Death of Abraham Lincoln. — The Nation in Tears. 

Jefferson Davis and his cabinet had hastily quitted 
Richmond, on Sunday, the third day of April, 1865 ; the 
Union troops had taken possession the day following ; 
and Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, 
and the best-hated man by the rebels, entered the city 
a short time after. For the following account of the 
President's visit, I am indebted to a correspondent of 
11 The Boston Journal : " — 

" 1 was standing upon the bank of the river, viewing 
the scene of desolation, when a boat, pulled by twelve 
sailors, came up stream. It contained President Lin- 
coln and his son, Admiral Porter, Capt. Penrose of 
the army, Capt. A. H. Adams of the navy, Lieut. W. W. 
Clements of the signal corps. Somehow the negroes on 
the bank of the river ascertained that the tall man wear- 
ing the black hat was President Lincoln. There was a 
sudden shout. An officer who had just picked up fifty 
negroes to do work on the dock found himself alone. 
They left work, and crowded round the President. As 
he approached, I said to a colored woman, — 

u ' There is the man who made you free/ 

323 



324 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

" < What, massa ? ' 

" l That is President Lincoln.' 

" < Dat President Linkum ? ' 

"'Yes.' 

" She gazed at him a moment, clapped her hands, and 
jumped straight up and down, shouting, l Glory, glory, 
glory ! ? till her voice was lost in a universal cheer. 

" There was no carriage near ; so the President, lead- 
ing his son, walked three-quarters of a mile up to Gen. 
Weitzel's headquarters, — Jeff. Davis's mansion. What 
a spectacle it was ! Such a hurly-burly, such wild, in- 
describable, ecstatic joy I never witnessed. A colored 
man acted as guide. Six sailors, wearing their round 
blue caps and short jackets and bagging pants, with navy 
carbines, were the advance-guard. Then came the Presi- 
dent and Admiral Porter, flanked by the officers accom- 
panying him, and the correspondent of l The Journal ;' 
then six more sailors with carbines, — twenty of us all 
told, — amid a surging mass of men, women, and children, 
black, white, and yellow, running, shouting, dancing, 
swinging their caps, bonnets, and handkerchiefs. The 
soldiers saw him, and swelled the crowd, cheering in wild 
enthusiasm. All could see him, he was so tall, so con- 
spicuous. 

" One colored woman, standing in a doorway as the 
president passed along the sidewalk, shouted, i Thank 
you, dear Jesus, for this ! thank you, Jesus ! ' Another 
standing by her side was clapping her hands, and shout- 
ing, ' Bless de Lord ! ' 

u A colored woman snatched her bonnet from her head, 
and whirled it in the air, screaming with all her might, 
1 God bless you, Massa Linkum ! } 

"A few white women looking out from the houses 



FALL OF THE CONFEDERACY. 325 

waved their handkerchiefs. One lady in a large and 
elegant building looked a while, and turned away her 
head as if it was a disgusting sight. 

" President Lincoln walked in silence, acknowledging 
the salutes of officers and soldiers, and of the citizens, 
black and white. It was the man of the people among the 
people. It was the great deliverer meeting the de- 
livered. Yesterday morning the majority of the thou- 
sands who crowded the streets and hindered our advance 
were slaves: now they were free, and beholding him 
who had given them their liberty." 

On the 9th of the same month, Gen. Lee, with his 
whole army, surrendered to Gen. Grant; and thus fell 
the Southern Confederacy, the enemy of the negro and 
of Republican government. The people of the North, 
already tired of the war, at once gave themselves up to 
rejoicing all over the free States. 

But the time of merry-making was doomed to be 
short ; for slavery, the cause of the Rebellion, was dying 
hard. The tyrants of the South, so long accustomed to 
rule, were now determined to ruin. Slavery must have 
its victim. If it could not conquer, it must at least die 
an honorable death ; and nothing could give it more 
satisfaction than to commit some great crime in its last 
struggles. 

Therefore the death of Abraham Lincoln by the hand 
of an assassin was but the work of slavery. It mur- 
dered Lovejoy at Alton, it slowly assassinated Torrey in 
a Maryland prison, it struck down Sumner in the Senate, 
it had taken the lives, by starvation, of hundreds at An- 
derson, Richmond, and Salisbury ; why spare the great 
liberator ? 

President Lincoln fell a sacrifice to his country's sal- 



326 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

vation as absolutely and palpably, as though he had been 
struck down while leading an assault on the ramparts of 
Petersburg. The wretch who killed him was impelled 
by no private malice, but imagined himself an avenger 
of that downcast idol, which, disliking to be known 
simply as slavery, styles itself " The South. " He was 
murdered, not that slavery might live ; but that it might 
bring down its most conspicuous enemy in its fall. 

The tears of four millions of slaves whom he had lib- 
erated, five hundred thousand free blacks whose future 
condition he had made better, and the twenty millions 
of whites in the free States, stricken as they never 
had been before by the death of a single individual, 
followed his body to the grave. No nation ever mourned 
more sincerely the loss of its head than did the people 
of the United States that of President Lincoln. We all 
love his memory still. 

w His name is not a sculptured thing, where old Renown has reared 
Her marble in the wilderness, by smoke of battle seared ; 
But graven on life-leaping hearts, where Freedom's banners wave, 
It gleams to bid the tyrant back, and loose the fettered slave." 

Faults he had ; but we forget them all in his death. 
It seemed to us that God had raised this man up to do a 
great w T ork ; and when he had finished his mission, 
flushed with success over the enemies of his country, 
while the peals of exultation for the accomplishment of 
the noble deed were yet ringing in his ears, and while 
our hearts w r ere palpitating more generously for him, he 
permitted him to fall, that we should be humbled, and 
learn our own weakness, and be taught to put more de- 
pendence in the ruler of the universe than in man. 



DEATH OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN. 327 

1 So sleep the good, who sink to rest 
By all their country's wishes blest. 
When Spring with dewy fingers cold 
Returns to deck their hallowed mould, 
She there shall dress a sweeter sod 
Than Fancy's feet have ever trod : 
By forms unseen, their dirge is sung ; 
By fairy hands, their knell is rung; 
There Honor comes, a pilgrim gray, 
To bless the turf that wraps their clay ; 
And Freedom shall a while repair, 
To dwell a weeping hermit there." 



CHAPTER XLL 



PRESIDENT ANDREW JOHNSON. 



Origin of Andrew Johnson. — His Speeches in Tennessee. — The Negro's 
Moses. — The Deceived Brahmin. — The Comparison. — Interview with 
Southerners. — Northern Delegation. — Delegation of Colored Men. — 
Their Appeal. 

Springing from the highest circle of the lowest class of 
whites of the South, gradually rising, coming up over a 
tailor's board, and all the obstacles that slaveholding so- 
ciety places between an humbly^born man and social and 
political elevation, Andrew Johnson entered upon his 
presidential duties, at the death of Mr. Lincoln, with the 
hearty good feeling of the American people. True, he 
had taken a glass too much on the day of his inaugura- 
tion as vice-president, and the nation had not forgotten 
it; yet there were many palliating circumstances to be 
offered. The weather was cold, his ride from Tennessee 
had been long and fatiguing, he had met with a host of 
friends, who, like himself, were not afraid of the " critter." 
And, after all, who amongst that vast concourse of poli- 
ticians, on that fourth day of March, had not taken a 
''Tom and Jerry," a " whiskey punch," a " brandy smash," 
or a "cocktail"? Again: the people had been robbed of 
their idol, and suddenly plunged into grief, and felt like 
looking up the commendable acts of the new President, 
rather than finding fault, and were desirous to see how 

328 



PRESIDENT ANDREW JOHNSON. 329 

far he was capable of filling the gap so recently made 
vacant. 

They remembered that when the secessionists were 
withdrawing from Congress, in 1800, Mr. Johnson said, 
u If I were president, I would try them for treason, and, 
if convicted, I would hang thein." This was mark num- 
ber one in his favor. They had nut forgotten his address 
to the Tennessee Convention, which, in the preceding 
January, had, by an almost unanimous vote, declared 
slavery in that State forever abolished. 

This speech was made on the l^th of January, and 
is very uncompromising and eloquent. " Yesterday," 
said he to the Convention, " you broke the tyrant's rod, 
and set the captive free. (Loud applause.) Yes, gen- 
tlemen, yesterday you sounded the death-knell of negro 
aristocracy, and performed the funeral obsequies of that 
thing called slavery. ... I feel that God smiles on 
what you have done. Oh, how it contrasts with the 
shrieks and cries and wailings which the institution of 
slavery has brought on the land ! w 

And his speech to the colored people of Nashville 
in the preceding October wa3 exceedingly touching, 
by reason of its tender, heartfelt compassion for all the 
degradation, insult, and cruelty which had been heaped 
upon that poor and unoffending people so long. Its 
scorn and sarcasm were terrible as he arraigned the 
" master " class for their long career of lust, tyranny, 
and crime. He hoped a Moses would arise to lead this 
persecuted people to their promised land of freedom. 
"You are our Moses," shouted first one, and then a 
great multitude of voices. But the speaker went on ? 
" God, no doubt, has prepared, somewhere, an instrument 
for the great work he designs to perform in behalf of 



330 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

this outraged people ; and in due time your leader will 
come forth, — your Moses will be revealed to you." 
" We want no Moses but you ! " again shouted the 
crowd. " Well, then/' replied Mr. Johnson, " humble 
and unworthy as I am, if no better shall be found, I will 
indeed be your Moses, and lead you through the Red 
Sea of war and bondage to a fairer future of liberty and 
peace." 

These were brave words in behalf of the rights of 
man, and weighed heavily in Mr. Johnson's favor. Also 
in his first public words, after taking the oath as Presi- 
dent of the United States, Mr. Johnson referred to the 
past of his life as an indication of his course and policy 
in the future, rather than to make any verbal declara- 
tions now ; thereby manifesting an honorable willingness 
to be judged by his acts, and a consciousness that the 
record was one which he need not be ashamed to own. 

What better words or greater promises could be de- 
manded? And, moreover, the American people are 
admirers of self-made men. Indeed, it is the foundation 
of true republican principles ; and those who come to the 
surface by their own genius or energies are sure to be 
well received by the masses. But was Andrew Johnson 
a genius? was he shrewd? was he smart? If not, how 
could he have attained to such a high position in his 
own State ? Were the people there all fools, that they 
should send a mountebank to the United-States Senate ? 
Or were they, as well as the National-Republican Con- 
vention that nominated him in 1864 for the Vice-Presi- 
dency, deceived ? 

Macaulay, in his Criticism on the Poems of Robert 
Montgomery, says, " A pious Brahmin, it is written, 
made a vow, that, on a certain day, he would sacrifice a 



PRESIDENT ANDREW JOHNSON. 331 

sheep ; and on the appointed morning he went forth to 
buy one. There lived in his neighborhood three rogues, 
who knew his vow, and laid a scheme for profiting by 
it. The first met him, and said, l Brahmin ! wilt thou 
buy a sheep ? I have one fit for sacrifice.' — ' It is for 
that very purpose/ said the holy man, 'that I came 
forth this day.' Then the impostor opened a bag, and 
brought out of it an unclean beast, — an ugly dog, lame 
and blind. Thereon the Brahmin cried out, l Wretch, 
who touchest things impure, and utterest things untrue, 
callest thou that cur a sheep ?' — 'Truly/ answered 
the other, ' it is a sheep of the finest fleece, and of the 
sweetest flesh. Brahmin ! it will be an offering most ac- 
ceptable to the gods ! ' — ' Friend/ said the Brahmin, 
1 either thou or I must be blind.' Just then, one of the 
accomplices came up. ' Praised be the gods/ said this 
second rogue, ' that I have been saved the trouble of 
going to the market for a sheep ! This is such a sheep 
as I wanted. For how much wilt thou sell it ?' When 
the Brahmin heard this, his mind waved to and fro, like 
one swinging in the air at a holy festival. ' Sir/ said 
he to the new-comer, ' take heed what thou dost. This 
is no sheep, but an unclean cur.' — '0 Brahmin!' said 
the new-comer, l thou art drunk or mad.' At this time, 
the third confederate drew near. ' Let us ask this 
man/ said the Brahmin, ' what the creature is ; and I 
will stand by what he shall say.' To this the others 
agreed ; and the Brahmin called out, i stranger ! what 
dost thou call this beast?' — i Surely, Brahmin!' 
said the knave, { it is a fine sheep.' Then the Brahmin 
said, l Surely the gods have taken away my senses ! ' 
and he asked pardon of him who carried the dog, and 
bought it for a measure of rice and a pot of ghee ; and 



332 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

offered it up to the gods, who, being wroth at this un- 
clean sacrifice, smote him with a sore disease in all his 
joints. " 

The poor Brahmin was never more thoroughly im- 
posed upon in receiving the dog for a sheep than were 
the American people in accepting Andrew Johnson as a 
statesman, or even as a friend of liberty and republican 
institutions. That he hated the slaveocracy, there is 
not the slightest doubt ; for they were far above him, 
and all his efforts to be recognized by them as an equal 
had failed. 

But did he like the negro any better than the master? 
It is said, that while in his apprenticeship, on one occa- 
sion, young Johnson was passing along the street with a 
pair of pants upon his arm, when a well-dressed free ne- 
gro accidentally ran against him, pushing the tailor into a 
ditch ; whereupon, the latter threw a handful of mud 
at the black man, soiling his clothes very much. The 
negro turned, and indignantly said, " You better mind 
what you 'bout, you low white clodhopper, poor white- 
trash ! " This retort of the negro no doubt touched a 
tender chord ; for it reminded the rising young man of 
the " pit from whence he was digged/ 7 and it is said 
he hated the race ever after. But it must be acknowl- 
edged that Mr. Johnson is a big man in little things ; 
that he showed some shrewdness in taking advantage 
of the Union feeling, and especially the antislavery sen- 
timent, of the North, in wiggling himself into the Repub- 
lican party by his bunkum speeches. After all, what is 
the real character of the man ? 

" Great Judas of the nineteenth century, 
Foul political traitor of the age, 
Persistent speeehmaker, covered with falsity, 



PRESIDENT ANDREW JOHNSON. 333 

Come, sit now for your portrait. I will paint 

As others see you, — men who love their God, 

And hate not even you, aye you, attaint 

With love of self, and power that's outlawed. 

Behold the picture ! See a drunken man 

Whose age brings nothing but increase of sin, — 

A deceptive ' policy/ a hateful plan 

To deceive the people, and re-enslave the sons of Ham ! 

Now see it stretching out a slimy palm, 

And striking hands with rebels. Nay, nay ! 

It grasps Columbia by the throat and arm, 

And seeks to give her to that beast of prey." 

Intensely in love with himself, egotistical, without 
dignity, tyrannical, ungrateful, and fond of flattery, 
Mr. Johnson was entirely unprepared to successfully 
resist the overtures of the slaveholding aristocracy, 
by whom he had so long wished to be recoguized. It 
was some weeks after the death of the good President, 
that a committee of these Southerners visited the 
White House. They found Mr. Johnson alone ; for 
they had asked for an audience, which had been readily 
granted. Humbly they came, the lords of the lash, the 
men who, five years before, would not have shaken 
hands with him with a pair of tongs ..ten feet long. 
Many of them the President had seen on former occa- 
sions : all of them he knew by reputation. As they 
stood before him, he viewed them from head to feet, and 
felt an inward triumph. He could scarcely realize the 
fact, and asked himself, " Is it possible ? have I my old 
enemies before me, seeking favors ? " Yes: it was so; 
and they had no wish to conceal the fact. The chair- 
man of the committee, a man of years, one whose very 
look showed that he was not without influence among 
those who knew him, addressing the Chief Magistrate, 
said, " Mr. President, we come as a committee to rep- 



334 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION, 

resent to you the condition of the South, and its wants. 
We fear that your Excellency has had things misrepre- 
sented to you by the Radicals ; and knowing you to be 
a man of justice, a statesman of unsullied reputation, 
one who to-day occupies the proudest position of. any 
man in the world, we come to lay our wants before 
you. We have, in the past, been your political oppo- 
nents. In the future, we shall be your friends ; because 
we now see that you were right, and we were wrong. 
We ask, nay, we beg you to permit us to reconstruct 
the Southern States. Our people, South, are loyal to a 
man, and wish to return at once to their relations in the 
General Government. We look upon you, Mr. Presi- 
dent, as the embodiment of the truly chivalrous South- 
erner, — one who, born and bred in the South, under- 
stands her people : to you we appeal for justice ; for we 
are sure that your impulses are pure. Your future, 
Mr. President, is to be a brilliant one. At the next 
presidential election, the South will be a unit for the 
man who saves her from the hands of these Yankees, 
who now, under the protection of the Freedman's Bu- 
reau, are making themselves rich. We shall stand by 
the man that saves us; and you are that man. Your ge- 
nius, your sagacity, and your unequalled statesmanship, 
mark you out as the father of his country. Without 
casting a single ungenerous reflection upon the great 
name of George Washington, allow me to say what I am 
sure the rest of the delegation will join me in, and that 
is, that, a hundred years to come, the name of Andrew 
Johnson will be the brightest in American history." 

Several times during the delivery of the above speech, 
the President was seen to wipe his eyes, for he was in- 
deed moved to tears. At its conclusion, he said, " Gen- 



PRESIDENT ANDREW JOHNSON. 335 

tlemen, your chairman has perfectly overwhelmed me. I 
was not, I confess, prepared for these kind words, this 
cordial support, of the people of the South. Your pro- 
fessions of loyalty, which I feel to be genuine, and your 
promises of future aid, unman me. I thought you were 
my enemies, and it is to enemies that I love to give bat- 
tle. As to my friends, they can always govern me. I 
will lay your case before the cabinet. " — " We do not ap- 
peal to your cabinet/ 7 continued the chairman, " it is to 
you, Mr. President, that we come. Were you a common 
man, we should expect you to ask advice of your cabi- 
net ; but we regard you as master, and. your secreta- 
ries as your servants. You are capable of acting without 
consulting them : we think you the Andrew Jackson of 
to-day. Presidents, sir, are regarded as mere tools. We 
hope you, like Jackson, will prove an exception. We, 
the people of the South, are willing to let you do pre- 
cisely as you please ; and still we will support you. We 
are proud to acknowledge you as our leader. All we 
ask is, that we shall be permitted to organize our State 
Governments, elect our senators and representatives, 
and return at once into the Union ; and this, Mr. Presi- 
dent, lies entirely with you, unless you acknowledge 
yourself to be in leading-strings, which we know is not 
so ; for Andrew Johnson can never play second fiddle to 
men or parties." These last remarks affected Mr. John- 
son very much, which he in vain attempted to conceal. 
"Gentlemen," 7 replied the- President, "I confess that 
your chairman, has, in his remarks^ made an impression 
on my mind that I little dreamed of when you entered. I 
admit that I am not pleased with the manner in which 
the Radicals are acting." — "Allow me," said the chair- 
man, interrupting the President, " to say a word or two 



333 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

that I had forgotten. " Proceed," said the Chief Magis- 
trate. " You are not appreciated, " continued the chair- 
man, " by the Radicals. They speak of you sneeringly as 
the [ accidental President/ just as if you were not the 
choice of the people. The people of the North would 
never elect you again. No man, except Mr. Lincoln, has 
ever been elected a second time to the presidency, from 
the free States. They have so many peddling politicians, 
like so many hungry wolves, seeking office, that they are 
always crying, ' Rotation, rotation. 7 But, with us of the 
South, it is different. When we find a man with genius, 
talent, a statesman, we hold on to him, and keep him in 
office. You, Mr. President, can carry all the Southern, 
and enough of the Northern States to elect you to an- 
other term." — " Yes," responded one of the committee, 
" to two terms more." Mr. Johnson, with suppressed 
emotion, said, " I will at once lay down a policy, which, 
I think, will satisfy the entire people of the South ; but, 
but — I said that treason should be made odious, and 
traitors should be punished : what can I do so as not to 
stultify myself?" 

" I see it as clear as day, Mr. President," said the 
chairman. " You have already made treason odious by 
those eloquent speeches which you have delivered at 
various times on the Rebellion ; and now you can pun- 
ish traitors. by giving them office. St. Paul said, l If 
thine enemy hunger, feed him ; if he thirst, give him 
drink : for in so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire on his 
head. 7 Now, many of the Southerners are your old ene- 
mies ; and they are hungry for office, and thirst for the 
good liquor they used to get in the congressional saloons." 
" I am satisfied," said the President, u that I can restom 
the Southern States to their relations to the Union, and let 



PRESIDENT ANDREW JOHNSON. 337 

all who held office before the war, resume their positions 
again. — " Yes," remarked a member of the committee ; 
" and you can build up a new party of your own, that 
shall take the place of the Democratic party, which is 
already dead." — " Very true," replied the President, 
u there is both room and need of another political party. 
You may rest assured, gentlemen, that you will be re-in- 
stated in your former positions." The committee with- 
drew. " My policy" was commenced. The Republicans did 
not like it ; and a committee was sent to the White House, 
composed of some of the leading men of the North, the 
chairman of which was a man some six feet in height, 
stout, and well made ; features coarse ; full head of hair, 
touched with the frost of over fifty winters ; dressed in 
a gray suit, light felt hat. The committee, on entering, 
found the President seated, with his feet under the table. 
He did not rise to welcome the delegation, but seemed 
to push his feet still farther under the table, for fear that 
they might think he was going to rise. The chairman, 
whom I have already described, said in a rather strong 
voice, " Mr. President, we have called to ask you to use 
your official power to protect the Union men of the 
South, white and black, from the murderous feeling of 
the rebels. 

" As faithful friends, and supporters of your Adminis- 
tration, we most respectfully petition you to suspend for 
the present your policy towards the rebel States. We 
should not present this prayer if we were not painfully 
convinced that, thus far, it has failed to obtain any rea- 
sonable guarantees for that security in the future which 
is essential to peace and reconciliation. To our minds, 
it abandons the freedmen to the control of their ancient 
masters, and leaves the national debt exposed to repu- 
22 



338 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

diation by returning rebels. The Declaration of Inde- 
pendence asserts the equality of all men, and that right- 
ful government can be founded only on the consent of 
the goyerned. We see small chance of peace unless 
these great principles are practically established. With- 
out this, the house will continue divided against itself. 7 * 7 

" Gentlemen, 77 replied the President, " I will take your 
request into consideration, and give it that attention that 
it demands. 77 The committee left, satisfied that Mr. 
Johnson was a changed man. Soon after, the President 
was called upon by another delegation, a committee of 
colored men, consisting of Frederick Douglass, William 
Whipper, George T. Downing, and L. H. Douglass. The 
negro race was singularly fortunate in having these gen- 
tlemen to represent them; for they are not only amongst 
the ablest of their class, but are men of culture, and all 
of them writers and speakers of distinguished ability. 
The delegation, on entering, found the President seated, 
with his feet under the table, and his hands in his 
breeches pockets, and looking a little sour. Mr. Down- 
ing,^ the delegate from New England, first addressed the 
Chief Magistrate ; and his finely chosen-words, and well- 
rounded periods, no doubt made the President not a lit- 
tle uneasy, for he looked daggers at the speaker. The 
reflection of Downing 7 s highly cultivated mind, as seen 
through his admirable address, doubtless reminded the 
President of his own inferiority, and made him still 
more petulant ; for, when he replied to the delegate, he 
said, — 

" I am free to say to you that I do not like to be ar- 
raigned by some who can get up handsomely-rounded 
periods, and deal in rhetoric, and talk about abstract 
ideas of liberty, who never perilled life, liberty, or prop- 



PRESIDENT ANDREW JOHNSON. 339 

erty. This kind of theoretical, hollow, unpractical 
friendship, amounts to very little.' 7 

After Downing, came the strong words of Douglass. 
Of this speaker, the President had heard much, and ap- 
peared to eye him from head to feet ; took his hands out 
of his pockets ; and rested his elbows upon the table. 
Douglass, no doubt, reminded him of the well-dressed 
free negro, who, nearly forty years before, had pushed 
him into the ditch ; and this recollection brought up, 
also, that hateful tailor's bench, and, still back of that, 
his low origin. 

Mr. Douglass also reminded the President of his promise 
to be the negro's Moses. This last remark was cruel in 
the speaker, for it carried Mr. Johnson back to the days 
when he was carrying out that deceptive policy by 
which he secured the nomination on the ticket with Mr. 
Lincoln ; and he appeared much irritated at the remark. 
His whole reply to the delegation was weak, unfair, and 
without the slightest atom of logic. Mr. Downing ad- 
dressed the President as follows : — 

" We present .ourselves to your Excellency to make 
known, with pleasure, the respect which we are glad to 
cherish for you, — a respect which is your due as our 
Chief Magistrate. It is our desire that you should know 
that we come, feeling that we are friends meeting friends. 
We may, however, have manifested our friendship by 
not coming to further tax your already much-burdened 
and valuable time ; but we have another object in calling. 
We are in a passage to equality before the law. God 
hath made it by opening a Red Sea. We would have 
your assistance through the same. We come to you in 
the name of the United States, and are delegated to 
come by some who have unjustly worn iron manacles 



340 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

on their bodies ; by some whose minds have been mana- 
cled by class legislation in States called free. The colored 
people of the States of Illinois, Wisconsin, Alabama, Mis- 
sissippi, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, 
Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, the New-England 
States, and the District of Columbia, have specially 
delegated us to come. Our coming is a marked circum- 
stance. We are not satisfied with an amendment pro- 
hibiting slavery ; but we wish that amendment enforced 
with appropriate legislation. This is our desire, — We 
ask for it intelligently, with the knowledge and convic- 
tion that the fathers of the Revolution intended freedom 
for every American ; that they should be protected in 
their rights as citizens, and be equal before the law. 
We are Americans, — native-born Americans. We are 
citizens. We are glad to have it known to the world 
that we bear no doubtful record on this point. On this 
fact, and with confidence in the triumph of justice, we 
base our hope. We see no recognition of color or race 
in the organic law of the land. It knows no privileged 
class, and therefore we cherish the hope that we may be 
fully enfranchised, not only here in this district, but 
throughout the land. We respectfully submit, that ren- 
dering any thing less than this will be rendering to us 
less than our just due ; that granting anything less than 
our full rights will be a disregard of our just rights, — 
of due respect for our feelings. If the powers that be 
do so, it will be used as a license, as it were, or an apol- 
ogy, for any community or individual, so disposed, to 
outrage our rights and feelings. It has been shown in 
the present war that the Government may justly reach 
its strong arm into States, and demand from them — 
from those who owe it — their allegiance, assistance, and 



PRESIDENT ANDREW JOHNSON. 341 

support. May it not reach out a like arm to secure and 
protect its subjects upon whom it has a claim ? " 

Following Mr. Downing, Mr. Frederick Douglass ad- 
vanced, and addressed the President, saying, — 

" Mr. President, we are not here to enlighten you, 
sir, as to your duties as the Chief Magistrate of this re- 
public, but to show our respect, and to present in brief 
the claims of our race to your favorable consideration. 
In the order of divine Providence, you are placed in a 
position where you have the power to save or destroy 
us, to bless or blast us, — I mean our whole race. Your 
noble and humane predecessor placed in our hands the 
sword, to assist in saving the nation ; and we do hope 
that you, his able successor, will favorably regard the 
placing in our hands the ballot with which to save our- 
selves. We shall submit no argument on that point. 
The fact that we are the subjects of government, and 
subject to taxation, subject to volunteer in the service 
of the country, subject to being drafted, subject to 
bear the burdens of the State, makes it not improper that 
we should ask to share in the privileges of this condi- 
tion. I have no speech to make on this occasion. I 
simply submit these observations as a limited expression 
of the views and feelings of the delegation with which 
I have come." 

I omit Mr. Johnson's long and untruthful speech, and 
give the reply of the delegation, which he would not 
listen to : — 

" Mr. President, in consideration of a delicate sense 
of propriety, as well as your own repeated intima- 
tion of indisposition to discuss or to listen to a reply 
to the views and opinions you were pleased to 
express to us in your elaborate speech to-day, we 



342 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

would respectfully take this method of reply there* 
to. 

" Believing, as we do, that the views and opinions ex- 
pressed in that address are entirely unsound, and preju- 
dicial to the highest interests of our race, as well as of 
our country, we cannot do otherwise than expose the 
same, and, so far as may be in our power, arrest their 
dangerous influence. 

" It is not necessary at this time to call attention to 
more than two or three features of your remarkable 
address. 

" The first point to which we feel especially bound to 
take exception is your attempt to found a policy op- 
posed to our enfranchisement, upon the alleged ground 
of an existing hostility on the part of the former slaves 
towards the poor white people of the South. 

" We admit the existence of this hostility, and hold that 
it is entirely reciprocal. 

" But you obviously commit an error by drawing an 
argument from an incident of a state of slavery, and 
making it a basis for a policy adapted to a state of free- 
dom. 

"The hostility between the whites and blacks of the 
South is easily explained. It has its root and sap in the 
relation of slavery, and was incited on both sides by 
the cunning of the slave-masters. These masters se- 
cured their ascendency over both the poor whites and 
the blacks by putting enmity between them. They 
divided both to conquer each. 

"There was no earthly reason why the blacks should 
not hate and dread the poor whites when in a state of 
slavery ; for it was from this class that their masters 
received their slave-catchers, slave-drivers, and over- 



PRESIDENT ANDREW JOHNSON. 343 

seers. They were the men called in upon all occasions 
by the masters when any fiendish outrage was to be 
committed upon the slave. 

"Now, sir, you cannot but perceive that, the cause of 
this hatred removed, the effect must be removed also. 
Slavery is abolished. The cause of antagonism is re- 
moved ; and you must see that it is altogether illogical — 
1 putting new wine into old bottles, mending new gar- 
ments with old clothes ' — to legislate from slave-holding 
and slave-driving premises for a people whom you have 
repeatedly declared your purpose to maintain in freedom. 
Besides, even if it were true, as you allege, that the 
hostility of the blacks toward the poor whites must ne- 
cessarily be the same in a state of freedom as in a state of 
slavery, in the name of Heaven, we reverently ask, how 
can you, in view of your professed desire to promote 
the welfare of the black man, deprive him of all means 
of defence, and clothe him whom you regard as his 
enemy in the panoply of political power ? 

" Can it be that you would recommend a policy which 
would arm the strong and cast down the defenceless ? 
Can you, by any possibility of reasoning, regard this as 
just, fair, or wise ? 

" Experience proves that those are oftenest abused 
who can be abused with the greatest impunity. Men are 
whipped oftenest who are whipped easiest. Peace be- 
tween races is not to be secured by degrading one race, 
and exalting another ; by giving power to one race, and 
withholding it from another : but by maintaining a state 
of equal justice between all parties, — first pure, thpn 
peaceable. 

" On the colonization theory that you were pleased to 
broach, very much could be said. It is impossible to 



Mi THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

suppose, in view of the usefulness of the black man in 
time of peace as a laborer in the South, and in time of 
war as a soldier at the North, and the growing respect 
for his rights among the people, and his increasing adap- 
tation to a high state of civilization in this his native 
land, that there can ever come a time when he can be 
removed from this country without a terrible shock to 
its prosperity and peace. 

" Besides, the worst enemy of the nation could not cast 
upon its fair name a greater infamy than to suppose that 
negroes could be tolerated among them in a state of the 
most degrading slavery and oppression, and must be cast 
away and driven into exile for no other cause than hav- 
ing been freed from their chains." 

The most unhandsome and untruthful remarks of the 
President to the delegation are those in which he charges 
the slave-masters and the slave with combining to keep 
the poor whites in degradation. 

The construction which he put upon his promise to 
the blacks of Tennessee — to be the " Moses to lead 
the black race through the Red Sea of bondage " to — 
expatriation — was mean in the extreme, and shows a 
mind whose moral degradation is without its parallel. 



CHAPTER XLIL 

ILL TREATMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE SOUTH. 

The Old Slave-holders. — The Freedmen. — Murders. — School- teachers. 

— Riot at Memphis. — Mob at New Orleans. — Murder of Union Men 

— Riot at a Camp-meeting. 

Haughty and scornful as ever ; regarding themselves 
as overpowered, but not conquered ; openly regretting 
their failure to establish a Southern Confederacy ; 
backed up by President Johnson in their rebellious 
course, — the Southerners appear determined to reduce 
the blacks to a state of serfdom if they cannot have 
them as slaves. The new labor-laws of all the Southern 
States place the entire colored population as much in 
the hands of the w r hites as they were in the palmiest" 
day of chattel slavery, if we except the buying and 
selling. The negro whipping-post, which the laws of 
war swept away, has, under Andrew Johnson's recon- 
struction policy, been again re-instated throughout the 
South. The Freedmen's Bureau is as powerless to-day 
to protect the emancipated blacks in their rights as was 
the Hon. Samuel Hoar to remain in South Carolina 
against the will of the slave-holders of the days of Cal- 
houn and of McDuffie. Where the old masters cannot 
control their former slaves, they do not hesitate to shoot 
them down in open day, as the following will show : — 

A Texas correspondent writes to "The New-York 
Evening Post" (he dare not allow his name and resi- 
dence to be printed) as follows : — 

846 



346 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

" Every day I hear of murders of freedmen. Since 
five o'clock this afternoon, four new ones have been 
reported here. The disloyal press suppress the mention 
of such occurrences. 

" Should there be another outbreak in Texas, very 
many Union men, as well as a large proportion of freed- 
men, would at once be massacred in order to bring about 
such another reign of terror as would make the South a 
unit. ... 

11 Three freedmen were murdered in or near the line 
of an adjoining county a few days ago. The wagon 
which one of them was driving was robbed of all the 
fine goods it contained. The other two freedmen were 
shot by the same man, who is believed to be their former 
owner. The head of one of them was cut off, and they 
were left unburied. No investigation has been, or 
probably will be, made into these murders. If any 
Union man were to move in the matter, it would be at 
the peril of his life. 

" The brave and loyal man who told me of these mur- 
ders was applied to by a freedman, a kinsman of one of 
the murdered, for advice. The freedman was told to go 
to Austin, and report the facts to the agent of the Freed- 
men's Bureau ; but he appears not to have arrived. Like 
the freedman despatched by the chief justice of Re- 
fugio County, with a letter setting forth the disorders in 
that county, he may have been shot on the road. 

" My informant, seeing that I set about writing down 
the facts as to these murders just as he stated them, 
said to me, ' Do not make my name public, for it is all 
I can do to hold my own in — county just now ; ' 
and added, 1 1 keep no money in my house but a few 
dollars for current expenses. I can take care of myself 
in the daytime, but I do not feel safe at night.' n 






ILL TREATMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE. 347 

On the 2d of April, 1866, a Mr. Quisenbery was tried 
at the Circuit Court for the County of Louisa, Va., for 
the murder of Washington Green. Green was the 
former slave of Quisenbery, had worked for said Quisen- 
bery from the fall of Richmond, about the 3d of April, 
1865, until about the 1st of October, 1865, when Quis- 
enbery told him, the said Washington Green, that he 
had better go and get work somewhere else ; that he 
would not pay him for an} 7 thing that he had done. 
Washington Green went to work for a lady to get some 
shingles for her, and Quisenbery made a contract with 
this lady, that she should pay him, for Green's getting 
the shingles, by thrashing out his, Quisenbery's, wheat. 
It did not satisfy Washington Green, that Quisenbery 
should not only refuse to pay him for the work which 
he had already done for him, but that he should also 
collect what he had earned by hard working for this 
lady. Green went to Quisenbery, and asked him for the 
amount of getting the shingles for this lady. Quisen- 
bery said, " Washington, this is three times that you 
have been after me for that money.; I am now going to 
my hog-pen, and I warn you not to follow me." He 
repeated that warning three times. He then went to 
the hog-pen, got over the fence, stooped down to throw 
out some corn that the hogs had not eaten. He looked 
up, and saw Washington Green at or near the fence, and 
said, "I thought I warned you not to follow me," and 
pulled out his knife, and stabbed Green in the throat, 
and killed him instantly. This is the evidence and con- 
fession of Quisenbery, who was tried, and the jury found 
a verdict of not guilty, without scarcely leaving the 
jury-box; and Quisenbery was declared guiltless of 
any crime amid the plaudits of the people. 



348 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

At Jacksonville, Fla., on the 20th of June last, a freed- 
man complained before Col. Hart, that his last employer 
would not pay him. The black man afterwards went to 
the pine-woods, chopping logs. While absent, the man 
of whom he had complained got a woman to go to the 
freedman's wife, and get into a difficulty with her ; where- 
upon the freedman's wife was arrested, tried, found 
guilty, and fined fifty dollars,-being unable to pay which, 
she was put up at auction, and sold to the person who 
would take her for the shortest time, and pay fine and 
costs. The shortest time was/owr years ! Under another 
law of the State, the children were bound out till they 
should become of age! 

A free colored man named Jordan opened, by permis- 
sion of the commandant of the post at Columbia, Tenn., 
a school for the blacks. The school went on smoothly 
till Monday, the 11th instant, when two soldiers of the 
Eighth Tennessee Cavalry went into the school, and broke 
it up ; but the teacher, being so advised, resumed his la- 
bor the next day. But, on the 14th, Messrs. Datty, Por- 
ter, White, and others, including soldiers of the Eighth 
Tennessee, the party headed by White the city constable, 
proceeded to the schoolroom, seized the teacher, and 
brought him under guard to the court-house, where he 
received a mock trial. When being asked for his au- 
thority for teaching a school, Mr. Jordan replied, that 
Lieut.-Col. Brown and Major Sawyer were his authority, 
and wished they would bring Major Sawyer in. One of 
the men went out, but was absent only for a moment, when 
he came in, stating that Major Sawyer could not be found; 
whereupon Mr. Andrews ordered that the teacher be 
given twenty-five lashes. And they were administered, 
the man receiving the scourge like a martyr, telling his 



ILL TREATMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE. 349 

persecutors that he was willing to suffer for the right ; 
and that Christ had received the same punishment for 
the same purpose ; and he thought, if he could teach the 
children to read the Bible so that they might learn of 
heaven, he was doing a good work. To this, a soldier 
of the Eighth Tennessee said, " If you want to go to 
heaven you must pray : you can't get there by teaching 
the niggers. We can't go to school, and I'll be damned 
if niggers shall." 

Volumes might be written, recounting the shameful 
outrages committed at the South since the surrender of 
Lee. Not satisfied with murders of an individual char- 
acter, the Southerners % have, of late, gone into it more 
extensively. The first of these took place at Memphis, 
Tenn., May 4, 1866. A correspondent of Hon. W. D. 
Kelley, of Philadelphia, said, — 

" I have been an eye-witness to such sights as should 
cause the age in which we live to blush. Negro men 
have been shot down in cold blood on the streets ; bar- 
bers, at their chairs and in their own shops ; draymen on 
their drays, while attempting to earn an honest living ; 
hotel-waiters, while in the discharge of their duties ; 
hackmen, while driving female teachers of negro chil- 
dren to their schools ; laborers, while handling cotton on 
the wharves, &c. All the negro schoolhouses, and all 
the negro churches, and many of the houses of the ne- 
groes, have been burned, this too, under the immediate 
auspices of the city police and the mayor: in fact, most 
of these outrages were committed by the police them- 
selves, — all Irish, and all rebels, and mostly drunk. This is 
not the half: I have no heart to recount the outragevS I have 
seen. The most prominent citizens stand on the streets, 
and see negroes hunted down and shot, and laugh at it 



850 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

as a good joke. Attempts have been made to fire 
every Government building, and fire has been set to 
many of the abodes and business-places of Union people. 

" There is no doubt but that there is a secret organiza- 
tion sworn to purge the city of all Northern men who are 
not rebels, all negro teachers, all Yankee enterprise, and 
return the city * to the good old days of Southern rule 
and chivalry . ; 

" When the miscreants had fired Collins's chapel (a 
large frame church, corner of Washington and Orleans 
Streets, which would now cost fully ten thousand dollars, 
to rebuild), they stood around the fire which lighted the 
midnight sky. and made the night hideous with their 
hellish cheers for i Andy Johnson ? and a l white man's 
government ! ? And the supporters of the President, 
aside from being midnight burners of churches and 
schoolhouses, robbed women and children, and men, — 
sparing none on account of age, sex, physical disabilities, 
or innocence of crime, — even burning women and chil- 
dren alive. 

" The board of aldermen had their usual meetings last 
night. Their proceedings show no reference to the riot. 
No rewards have been offered for the apprehension of 
the murderous assassins, thieves, and house-burners." 

Next came, on a still larger scale, the rebel riot at New 
Orleans. The Military Commission appointed to inves- 
tigate the cause of the riot charge it upon Mayor Mon- 
roe, Lieut.-Gov. Voorhies, f and the rebel press of the 
city. The Commission speak of the murders as fol- 
lows : — 

" They can only say that the work of massacfre was 
pursued with a cowardly ferocity unsurpassed in the an- 
nals of crime. Escaping negroes were mercilessly pur- 



ILL TREATMENT OP COLORED PEOPLE. 851 

sued, shot, stabbed, and beaten to death by the mob and 
police. Wounded men on the ground begging for mercy 
ivere savagely despatched by mob, police, firemen, and, in- 
credible as it may seem, in two instances by women ; 
but, in two or three most honorable and exceptionable 
cases, white men and members of the Convention were 
protected by members of the police, both against the 
mob, and against other policemen. The chief of police, 
by great exertions, defended in this manner Gov. Halm. 

" After the attack had commenced, the police appeared 
to be under no control as such ; but acted as and with 
the mob. Their cheers and waving of hats as the} r 
threw the mangled Dostie, then supposed a, corpse, like a 
dead dog into the cart, sufficiently show their unison of 
feeling with their allies" 

Nothing, we take it, is more apparent from the array 
of evidence presented in this Report than that the New- 
Orleans riot was a preconcerted, deliberate, cold-blooded 
attempt to massacre the Unionists, white and black, of 
that city. The design can be traced like the develop- 
ment of a tragedy. Mayor Monroe is busy for a long 
time in advance in stirring up the passions of the mob 
by stigmatizing the members of the Convention as out- 
laws and revolutionists, threatening them with whole- 
sale arrest, and preparing his police for action. He might 
have ascertained that the members had resolved to peace- 
fully submit the legality of their course to the proper 
tribunals ; but he had bloodier ends in view. He knew 
that the excitement he had fanned would surely lead to 
an outburst of violence, unless restrained by two forces 
alone, — his police and the United-States troops. To 
keep the latter away, Mayor Monroe suppresses all re- 
quisition for them until it is too late ; and then tries to 



352 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

cover up his conduct with downright falsehood and per* 
jury. His police, instead of being brought forward 
openly, so that they would have to take sides for the 
preservation of order, are concealed in hiding-places till 
the collision occurs ; when they rush forth as allies of the 
mob, murdering negroes in cold blood ; firing repeatedly 
into the Convention, even after a white flag is raised; 
shooting and barbarously maltreating the wounded ; and 
perpetrating such feats of cowardly brutality and feroci- 
ty as were never before seen in this country, except in 
the congenial affairs of Memphis and Fort Pillow. 

Nothing goes so far towards reconciling one to what 
is called the u total-depravity n theory, as the contem- 
plation of those scenes of blood. They carry us back to 
the crimes and cruelty of the Massacre of St. Bartholo- 
mew. Mayor Monroe acts the part of the Duke of Guise ; 
Lieut.-Gov. Voorhies, that of the Duke of Alva ; while 
President Johnson acts the part of Charles IX., who, on 
approaching the burning corpse of Admiral Coligny, ex- 
claimed, u The smell of a dead enemy is always good." 

During the mob, the appearance of rebel organizations 
on the ground with marks and badges, and scores of simi- 
lar incidents, show that the plot was as deliberate as it 
was infernal. 

Again : a dispassionate consideration of the facts de- 
tailed by the Commission will lead to the conclusion that 
the underlying cause of the New-Orleans massacre was 
the old virus of slavery, still existing in the passions of 
Southern society, and likely to issue forth in violence 
whenever it shall be favored by similar circumstances. 
The members of the Louisiana Convention were entirely 
harmless, no matter how obnoxious or how indiscreet 
they were. Even if they were not disposed to submit 



ILL TREATMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE. 353 

their pretensions to a legal test, — as they were, — there 
would have been no difficulty in making their peaceable 
an est on the occurrence of their first overt act; but 
the mob of New Orleans, who, by the acquiescence of the 
better classes, or else in defiance of them through their 
great numerical preponderance, elect and control the 
city authorities, were determined to permit no such re- 
sult of the controversy. The Convention claimed to 
exercise free speech ; they would have none of that 
Northern innovation : it was composed of Union men ; and 
they should be made to feel their place in " reconstruct- 
ed " New Orleans : worse than all, they had for their 
allies and supporters colored Unionists ; and they should 
be made such an example of as should deter any more 
such movements at the South. It was a bloody crusade 
against the men and the principles that had triumphed 
in the Government of this country. Well do this Com- 
mission say, that, but for martial law and the United- 
States troops, " fire and bloodshed would have raged 
throughout the night in all negro quarters of the city, 
and that the lives and property of Unionists and North- 
ern men would have been at the mercy of the inob." 

Finally : the Report throws an impressive light upon 
President Johnson's connection with the New-Orleans 
massacre. He had already, in a manner, inculpated him- 
self in his speech at St. Louis. He there suppresses all 
the facts found by the Commission, and stigmatizes the 
members of the Convention as "traitors," engaged, under 
the instigation of Congress, in getting up a " rebellion/ 7 
and therefore responsible for all the bloodshed that oc- 
curred. That is precisely the pretence of Mayor Monroe 
and his mob. Well might the President, therefore, play 
into their hands. Gen. Baird, from official experience, has 

23 



354 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

been taught not to interfere with Mayor Monroe. When 
he telegraphs to Washington for orders, he gets no an- 
swer: the other side telegraph, and receive replies 
that encourage them in their course. Gen. Sheridan, 
like a true soldier, telegraphs the facts, with indignant 
comments ; and his despatches are garbled for public 
effect. Of all the murderers on that dreadful day, not 
one has been called to account ; nor has any one of them 
received therefor the least censure of the Government 
at Washington. 

The appointment, since the riot, of Adams, one of the 
most notorious of the rioters, as sergeant in the police 
force, by Mayor Monroe, confirms the fact of his guilt in 
the massacre. The blood of the martyrs Dostie and Hor- 
ton cries to Heaven for justice for the Union men of the 
South, white and black. The mob, composed of ex-rebel 
soldiers and citizens, that broke up the colored camp- 
meeting near Baltimore, Md., a few weeks after the New- 
Orleans riot, was only a part of the programme con- 
cocted by the men engaged in carrying out the recon- 
struction policy of Andrew Johnson. 



CHAPTER XLIIL 

PROTECTION FOR THE COLORED PEOPLE. 

Protection for the Colored People South. — The Civil Rights Bill.—* 
Liberty without the Ballot no Boon. — Impartial Suffrage. — Test 
Oaths not to be depended upon. 

In attempting to form a Southern Confederacy, with 
slavery as its corner-stone, by breaking up the Union, and 
repudiating the Constitution, the people of the South 
compelled the National Government to abolish chattel 
slavery in self-defence. The protection, defence, and 
support which self-interest induced the master to extend 
to the slave have been taken away by the emancipation 
of the latter. This, taken in connection with the fact 
that the negroes, by assisting the Federal authorities to 
put down the Rebellion, gained the hatred of their old 
masters, placed the blacks throughout the South in a 
very bad position. Now, what shall be done to protect 
these people from the abuse of their former oppressors ? 
The Civil Rights Bill passed by Congress is almost a 
dead letter, and many of the rebel judges declare it un- 
constitutional. The States having relapsed into the 
hands of the late slave-holders, and they becoming the 
executioners of the law, the blacks cannot look for jus- 
tice at their hands. The negro must be placed in a 
position to protect himself. How shall that be done ? 
We answer, the only thing to save him is the ballot. 
Liberty without equality is no boon. Talk not of civil 

355 



356 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

without political emancipation ! It is the technical plead 
ing of the lawyer : it is not the enlarged view of the 
statesman. If a man has no vote for the . men and the 
measures which tax himself, his family, and his property, 
and all which determine his reputation, that man is still 
a slave. 

We are told — what seems to be the common idea — 
that the elective franchise is not a right, but a privilege. 
But is this true ? We used to think so ; that is, we as- 
sented to it before we gave the subject any special 
thought : but we do not think so now. We maintain, that 
in a government like ours, a republican government, or 
government of the people, the elective franchise, as it is 
called, is not a mere privilege, but an actual and absolute 
right, — a right belonging, of right, to every free man who 
has not forfeited that right by crime. We in this country 
enjoy what is properly called self-government, and self- 
government necessarily implies the right to vote, — the 
right to help to govern, and to make the laws ; and this, 
in a government like ours, a government of the people, 
can only be done by or through the elective franchise. 
We maintain that in self-government, or government of 
the people, every man who is a free man and citizen has 
a right to assist and take part in that government. 
This right inheres and belongs to every man alike, to you 
and me, and every other man, — no matter what the color 
of his skin, — if he be a free man and citizen, and helps 
to support the government by paying taxes : it is one of 
the fundamental principles of self-government and of a 
democratic or republican government. But the elective 
franchise, the right to choose and elect the men who are 
to fill the offices, and make the laws and execute them, 
lies at the very bottom of such government. It is the 



PROTECTION FOR THE COLORED PEOPLE. 357 

first principle and starting-point, and is as much implied 
in the very name and idea of self-government, or govern- 
ment of the people, as any other principle, right, or idea 
pertaining to such a government. Does any one doubt 
this ? Let him ask himself what constitutes a republican 
government, or government of the people, and what is 
implied by such a government, and he will soon see, that 
without the elective franchise, or right to choose rulers 
and law-makers, there can be no such government. It 
will not do, therefore, to call this right a privilege. If it 
is but a privilege, all may be deprived of its exercise. 
What sort of a republican or self government would that 
be in which none of the people were allowed to vote ? 
But if it is but a privilege, and granted to but a class or 
part, it may be restricted to a still smaller part, and final- 
ly allowed to none ! 

Any proposal to submit the question of the political or 
civil rights of the negroes to the arbitrament of the 
whites is as unjust and as absurd as to submit the ques- 
tion of the political rights of the whites to the arbitra- 
ment of the negroes, with this difference, — that the ne- 
groes are loyal everywhere, and the great body of the 
whites disloyal everywhere. 

A white loyalist of the South, one who remained loyal 
during the whole of the Rebellion, says, — 

" To permit the whites to disfranchise the negroes is 
to permit those who have been our- enemies to ostracize 
our friends. The negroes are the only persons in those 
States who have not been in arms against us. They 
have not been in arms against us. They have always 
and everywhere been friendly, and not hostile, to us. 
They alone have a deep interest in the continued su- 
premacy of the United States ; for their freedom depends 



858 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

on it. On them alone can we depend to suppress a new 
insurrection. They alone will be inclined to vote for 
the friends of the Government in all the Southern 
States. They alone have sheltered, fed, and pioneered 
our starved and hunted brethren through the swamps 
and woods of the South, in their flight from those who 
now aspire to rule them. 

"The shame and folly of deserting the negroes are 
equalled by the wisdom of recognizing and protecting 
their poiver. They will form a clear and controlling ma- 
jority against the united white vote in South Carolina, Mis- 
sissippi, and Louisiana. With a very small accession from 
the loyal whites, they will form a majority in Alabama, 
Georgia, and Virginia. Unaided in all those States, 
they will be a majority in many congressional and legis- 
lative districts ; and that alone suffices to break the ter- 
rible and menacing unity of the Southern vote in Con- 
gress. " 

It is said that the slaves are too ignorant to exercise 
the elective franchise judiciously. To this we reply, 
they are as intelligent as the average of " poor whites/' 
and were intelligent enough to be Unionists during the 
great struggle, when the Federal Government needed 
friends. In a conflict with the spirit of rebellion, the 
blacks can always be depended upon, the whites cannot; 
and, for its own security against future outbreaks, the 
National Government should see that the negro is 
placed where he can help himself, and assist it. 

The ballot will secure for the colored people respect; 
that respect will be a protection for their schools ; and, 
through education and the elective franchise, the negro 
is to rise to a common level of humanity in the South- 
ern States. 



PROTECTION TO THE COLORED PEOPLE. 359 

But little aid can be expected for the freedmen from 
the Freedmen's Bureau ; for its officers, if not Southern 
men, will soon become upon intimate terms with the 
former slave-holders, and the Bureau will be converted 
into a power of oppression, instead of a protection. 

The anti-Union whites know full well the great influ- 
ence of the ballot, and therefore are afraid to give it to 
the blacks. The franchise will be of more service to 
this despised race than a standing army in the South. 
The ballot will be his standing army. The poet has 
truly said, — 

" There is a weapon surer yet, 

And better, than the bayonet ; 
A weapon that comes down as still 

As snow-flakes fall upon the sod, 
And executes a freeman's will 

As lightning does the will of God; 
A weapon that no bolts nor locks 

Can bar. It is the ballot-box." 

Even " The New- York Herald," borne time ago, went 
so far as to say, — 

" We would give the suffrage at once to four classes 
of Southern negroes. First, and emphatically, to every 
negro who has borne arms in the cause of the United 
States ; second, to every negro who owns real estate ; 
third, to every negro who can read and write; and, 
fourth, to every negro that had belonged to any reli- 
gious organization or church for five years before the 
war. These points would cover every one that ought 
to vote ; and they would insure in every negro voter a 
spirit of manhood as well as discipline, some practical 
shrewdness, intellectual development, and moral con- 
sciousness and culture. 77 



360 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

Impartial suffrage is what we demand for the colored 
people of the Southern States. No matter whether the 
basis be a property or an educational qualification, let it 
be impartial : upon this depends the future happiness 
of all classes at the South. Test-oaths, or promises to 
support the laws, mean nothing with those who have 
come up through the school of slavery. 

" As for oaths, the rebels, whose whole career has 
been a violation of the solemn obligations of which 
oaths are merely the sign, care no more for them than 
did the rattlesnake to which our soldiers in West Vir- 
ginia once administered the oath of allegiance. Im- 
partial suffrage affords the only sure and permanent 
means of combating the rebel element in the Southern 
States." 



CHAPTER XLIV. 

CASTE. 

Slavery the Foundation of Caste. — Black its Preference. — The General 
Wish for Black Hair and Eyes. — No Hatred to Color. — The White 
Slave. — A Mistake. — Stole his Thunder. — The Burman. — Pew for 
Sale. 

Caste is usually found to exist in communities or 
countries among majorities, and against minorities. 
The basis of it is owing to some supposed inferiority or 
degradation attached to the hated ones. However, 
nothing is more foolish than this prejudice. But the 
silliest of all caste is that which is founded on color ; for 
those who entertain it have not a single logical reason 
to offer in its defence. 

The fact is, slavery has been the cause of all the pre- 
judice against the negro. Wherever the blacks are ill 
treated on account of their color, it is because of ^heir 
identity with a race that has long worn the chain of 
slavery. Is there any thing in black, that it should be 
hated? If so, why do we see so much black in common 
use as clothing among all classes? Indeed, black is 
preferred to either white or colors. How often the 
young man speaks in ecstasies of the black eyes and 
black hair of his lady-love ! Look at the hundreds of 
advertised hair-dyes, used for the purpose of changing 
nature ! See men with their gray beards dyed black ; 
women with those beautiful black locks, which, but yes- 

361 



©62 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

terday, were as white as the driven snow ! Not only 
this, but even those with light or red whiskers run to 
the dye-kettle, steal a color which nature has refused 
them, and, an hour after, curse the negro for a com- 
plexion that is not stolen. If black is so hateful, why 
do not gentlemen have their boots whitewashed? If the 
slaves of the South had been white, the same prejudice 
would have existed against them. Look at the " poor 
white trash,' 7 as the lower class of whites in the South- 
ern States are termed. 

Henry Clay would much rather have spent an evening 
with his servant Charles than to have made a compan- 
ion of one of his poor white neighbors. It is the condi- 
tion, not the color, that is so hateful. 

" When the Britons first became known to the Tyrian 
mariners/ 7 says Macaulay, " they were little superior to 
the Sandwich Islanders. 77 Cassar, writing home from 
Britain, said, " They are the most ignorant people I ever 
conquered. 77 Many of the Britons, after their conquest 
by the Romans, were sent as slaves to Rome. Cicero, 
writing to his friend Atticus, advised him not to buy 
slaves from England ; " because, 77 said he, " they cannot 
be taught to read, and are the ugliest and most stupid 
race I ever saw. 77 These writers created a prejudice 
against the Britons, which caused them to be sold very 
cheap in Rome, where they were seen for years with 
brass collars on, containing their owner's name. The 
prejudice against the American negro is not worse to- 
day than that which existed against the Britons. But, as 
soon as the condition of the poor, ill-treated, and en- 
slaved Britons was changed, the caste disappears. 

Twenty-five years ago, a slave escaped from Tennes- 
see, and came to Buffalo, N.Y. He was as fair as the 



CASTE. 363 

majority of whites, and, having been a house-servant, 
his manners and language were not bad. His name 
was Green. It was said that he had helped himself to 
some of his master's funds before leaving. For more 
than a month he had boarded at the American, the 
finest hotel in the city, where he sat at table with the 
boarders, and occupied the parlors in common with 
the rest of the inmates. 

Mr. Green passed for a Southern gentleman, sported 
a gold watch, smoked his Havanas, and rode out occa- 
sionally. He was soon a favorite, especially with the 

daughters of Col. D . Unfortunately for Mr. Green, 

one day, as he was taking his seat at the dinner-table, 
he found himself in front of one of his master's neigh- 
bors, who recognized him. The Southerner sent for the 
landlord, with whom he had a few moments' conversa- 
tion, after which mine host approached the boarder, and 
said, " We don't allow niggers at the table here : get 
up. You must wait till the servants eat." Mr. Green 
was driven from the table, not on account of his color, 
but his condition. Under the old reign of slavery, it 
not unfrequently occurred that the master's acknowl- 
edged sons or daughters were of a much darker com- 
plexion than some of the slave children. 

On one occasion, after my old master had returned 
home from the Legislature (of which he was a member), 
he had many new visitors. One of these, a Major Moore, 
called in my master's absence. The major had never 
been to our place before, and therefore we were all 
strangers to him. The servant showed the visitor into 
the parlor, and the mistress soon after came in, and to 
whom the major introduced himself. I was at that time 
about ten years old, and was as white as most white 



364 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION, 

boys. Whenever visitors came to the house, it was my 
part of the programme to dress myself in a neat suit, 
kept for such times, and go into the room, and stand be- 
hind the lady's chair. As I entered the room on this 
occasion, I had to pass near by the major to reach the 
mistress. As I passed him, mistaking me for the son, 
he put out his hand, and said, " How do you do, bub ? " 
And, before any answer could be given, he continued, 
" Madam, I would have known your son if I had met 
him in Mexico ; for he looks so much like his papa." The 
lady's face reddened up, and she replied, " That's one 
of the niggers, sir ; M and told me to go to the kitchen. 

On my master's return home, I heard him and the major 
talking the matter over in the absence of the mistress. 
u I came near playing the devil here to-day, colonel," 
said the major. — " In what way ? " inquired the former. 
"It is always my custom," said the latter, u to make fond 
of the children where I visit; for it pleases the mammas. 
So, to-day, one of your little niggers came into the room, 
and I spoke to him, reminding the madam how much 
he resembled you." — u Ha, ha, ha ! " exclaimed the colo- 
nel, and continued, "you did not miss it much by call- 
ing him my son. Ha, ha, ha ! " 

An incident of a rather amusing character took place 
on Cayuga Lake some years ago. I had but recently 
returned from England, where I had never been unpleas- 
antly reminded of my color, when I was called to visit 
the pretty little city of Ithaca. On my return, I came 
down the lake in the steamer which leaves early in the 
morning. When the bell rang for breakfast, I went to 
the table, where I found some twenty or thirty persons. 
I had scarcely taken my seat, when a rather snobby- 
appearing man, of dark complexion, looking as if a South- 



caste. 365 

Carolina or Georgia sun had tanned him, began rubbing 
his hands, and, turning up his nose, called the steward, 
and said to him, "Is it the custom on this boat to put 
niggers at the table with white people ? " The servant 
stood for a moment, as if uncertain what reply to make, 
when the passenger continued, " Go tell the captain 
that I want him." Away went the steward. I had been 
too often insulted on account of my connection with the 
slave, not to know for what the captain was wanted. 
However, as I was hungry, I commenced helping my- 
self to what I saw before me, yet keeping an eye to the 
door, through which the captain was soon to make his 
appearance. As the steward returned, and I heard the 
heavy boots of the commander on the stairs, a happy 
thought struck me ; and I eagerly watched for the com- 
ing-in of the officer. 

A moment more, and a strong voice called out, " Who 
wants me ? " 

I answered at once, " I, sir." 

" What do you wish ? " asked the captain. 

11 1 want you to take this man from the table," said I. 

At this unexpected turn of the affair, the whole cabin 
broke out into roars of laughter ; while my rival on the 
opposite side of the table seemed bursting with rage. 
The captain, who had joined in the merriment, said, — 

u Why do you want him taken from the table ? " 

u Is it your custom, captain," said I, " to let niggers 
sit at table with white folks on your boat ? " 

This question, together with the fact that the other 
passenger had sent for the officer, and that I had " stolen 
his thunder," appeared to please the company very 
much, who gave themselves up to laughter; while the 
Southern-looking man left the cabin with the exclama- 
tion, u Damn fools ! " ' 



366 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

Nothing is more ridiculous than the legal decision in 
the States of Ohio and Michigan, that a man containing 
not more than one-sixteenth of African blood in his 
veins shall be considered a white man, and, upon the 
above basis, shall enjoy the elective franchise. 

We know of a family in Cincinnati, with three broth- 
ers, the youngest of whom is very fair, and who, under 
the above rule, is a voter ; while the other two brothers 
are too dark to exercise the suffrage. Now, it so hap- 
pens that the voting brother is ignorant and shiftless, 
while the others are splendid scholars. Where there is 
a great difference in the complexion of the husband and 
wife, there is generally a much greater difference in the 
color of the children ; and this picking out the sons, 
on account of their fair complexion, seems cruel in the 
extreme, as it creates a jealous feeling in the family. 
While visiting my friend William Still, Esq., in Philadel- 
phia, some time since, I was much amused at seeing his 
little daughter, a child of eight or nine years, and her 
cousin, entering the omnibus which passed the. door, 
going towards their school. Colored persons were not 
allowed to ride in those conveyances ; and oue of the 
girls, being very fair, would pay the fare for both; 
while the dark-complexioned one would keep her face 
veiled. Thus the two children daily passed unmolested 
from their homes to the school, and returned. I was 
informed that once while I was there the veil unfortu- 
nately was lifted, the dark face seen, and the child 
turned out of the coach. How foolish that one's ride 
on a stormy day should depend entirely on a .black 
veil ! 

" Colorphobia, which has hitherto been directed 
against ' American citizens of African descent/ has 



CASTE. 367 

broken out in a new direction. Mong Chan Loo is a 
Burman who recently graduated at Lewisburg Univer- 
sity, Penn., and has since been studying medicine, prepar- 
atory to returning to Asia as a missionary. He is quite 
dark, but has straight hair, and is a gentlemen of much 
cultivation. The other day, he took passage on the Mus- 
kingum-river packet, " J. H. Bert," and, when the sup- 
per-bell rang, was about to seat himself at the table. 
The captain prevented him, informing him that, by the 
rules of the boat, colored persons must eat separately 
from the whites. He grew indignant at this, refused to 
eat on the boat at all, and, on arriving at Marietta, 
sued the owners of the boat for five thousand dollars 
damages for l mental and bodily anguish suffered/ The 
case is a novel one ; and its decision will perhaps involve 
the question, whether Africans alone, or Asiatics, and, 
perhaps, all dark-complexioned people, are included in 
the designation •' colored.' If the more sweeping defini- 
tion prevails, brunettes will have to be provided with 
legally-attested pedigrees to secure for themselves seats 
at the first table and other Caucasian privileges." — 
Cincinnati Gazette. 

u The Dunkards, a peculiar religious society, numer- 
ous in some of the Western States, at their recent an- 
nual meeting discussed the question, l Shall we receive 
colored persons into the church? and shall we salute 
them with the holy kiss ? ? It was decided that they 
should be received into the church, but that all the 
members were to be left to their own choice and taste 
ifx regard to saluting their colored -brethren, with the 
understanding, however, that all who refused to do so 
were to be regarded as weak." 

In the year 1844, I visited a town in the State of 



333 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

Ohio, where a radical abolitionist informed me that he 
owned a pew in the village church, but had not attended 
worship there for years, owing to the proslavery char- 
acter of the preacher. 

" Why don'tyou sell your pew?" I inquired. 

" I offered to sell it, last week, to a man, for ten dol- 
lars' worth of manure for my garden,' 7 said he ; " but the 
farmer, who happens to be one of the pillars of the 
church, wants it for five dollars." 

" What did it cost? " I inquired. 

" Fifty dollars," was the reply. 

" Are they very proslavery, the congregation ? " I 
asked. 

" Yes : they hate a black man worse than pizen" 
said he. 

" Have you any colored family in your neighbor- 
hood ? " I inquired. 

" We have," said he, " a family about four miles from 
here." 

" Are they very black ? " I asked. 

u Yes : as black as tar," said he. 

" Now," said I, " my friend, I can put you in the way 
of selling your pew, and for its worth, or near what it 
cost you." 

" If you can, I'll give you half I get," he replied. 

u Get that colored family, every one of them, take 
them to church, don't miss a single Sunday ; and, my 
word for it, in less than four weeks, they, the church- 
folks, will make you an offer," said I. 

An arrangement was made with Mr. ■ Spencer, the 
black man, by which himself, wife, and two sons, were 
to attend church four successive Sabbaths ; for which, 
they were to receive in payment a hog. The following 



CASTE. 369 

Sunday, Mason's pew was the centre of attraction. From 
the moment that the Spencer Family arrived at the 
church, till the close of the afternoon service, the eyes 
of the entire congregation were turned towards " the 
niggers." Early on Monday, Mr. Mason was called upon 
by the " pillar," who said, " Fve concluded to give you 
ten dollars' worth of manure for your pew, Mr. Mason." 

" I can't sell it for that," was the reply. " I ask fifty 
dollars for my pew ; and I guess Mr. Spencer will take 
it, if he likes the preaching," continued the abolitionist. 

" What ! " said the " pillar," u does that nigger want 
the pew ? " 

" He'll take it if the preaching suits him," returned 
Mason. 

The churchman left with a flea in his ear. The sec- 
ond Sunday, the blacks were all on hand to hear the 
lining of the first hymn. The news of the pew being 
occupied by the negroes on the previous occasion had 
spread far and wide, and an increase of audience was 
the result. The clergyman preached a real negro- 
hating sermon, apparently prepared for the express pur- 
pose of driving the blacks away. However, this failed; 
for the obnoxious persons were present in the after- 
noon. Mr. Mason was called upon on Monday by an- 
other weighty member, who inquired if the pew was 
for sale, and its price. 

" Fifty dollars," was the reply. 

" I'll give you twenty-five dollars," said the mem- 
ber." 

" Fifty dollars, and nothing less," was Mason's answer. 

The weighty member left, without purchasing the 
pew. Being on a lecturing tour in the vicinity, I ran 
into town, occasionally,- to see how the matter pro- 

2i 



370 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

gressed ; for I had an eye to one-half of the proceeds 
of the sale of the pew. 

During the week, Spencer came, complained of the 
preaching, saying that his wife could not and would 
not stand it, and would refuse to attend again ; where- 
upon, I went over, through a dreary rain, and promised 
the wife a shilling calico-dress if she would fulfil the 
agreement. This overcame her objections. I also ar- 
ranged that two colored children of another family, 
near by, should be borrowed for the coming Sunday. 
Mason was asked how the Spencers liked the preaching. 
He replied that the blacks were well pleased, and espe- 
cially with the last sermon, alluding to the negro-hating 
discourse. 

, The following Sunday found Mason's pew filled to over- 
flowing ; for the two additional ones had left no space 
unoccupied. That Sunday did the work completely ; for 
the two borrowed boys added interest to the scene by 
taking different courses. One was tumbling about over 
the laps of the older persons in the pew, attracting 
rather more attention than was due him, and occasionally 
asking for " bed and butter ; " while the smaller one 
slept, and snored loud enough to be heard several pews 
away. On Monday morning following, Mr. Mason was 
called upon. The pew was sold for fifty dollars cash. 
I received my portion of the funds, and gave Spencer's 
wife the calico gown. Mason called in the few hated 
radicals, and we had a general good time. 

During the same lecturing tour, I was called to visit 
the village of Republic, some thirty miles from San- 
dusky. 

On taking a seat in one of the cars where other pas- 
sengers had seated themselves, I was ordered out, with 



CASTE. 371 

the remark, that " Niggers ain't allowed in here." Re- 
fusing to leave the car, two athletic men, employed by 
the road, came in at the bidding of the conductor, and 
taking me by the collar, dragged me out. 

11 Where shall I ride ? " I asked. " Where you please ; 
but not in these cars," was the reply. Under ordinary 
circumstances, I would have declined going by the traih. 
But I had an appointment, and must go. As the signal 
for starting was given, I reluctantly mounted a flour- 
barrel in the open freight-car attached to the train, and 
away we went through the woods. 

From my position, I had a very good view of the pas- 
sengers in the nearest car, and must confess that they 
did not appear to be the most refined individuals. The 
majority looked like farmers. There were some drovers, 
one of whom, with his dog at his feet, sat at the end 
window : the animal occasionally got upon the seat by 
the side of its master, when the latter would take him 
by the ears, and pull him off. The drover seemed to say 
to me, as he eyed me sitting on the barrel in the hot 
sun, " You can't come where my dog is." At the first 
stopping-place, a dozen or more laboring-men, employed 
in repairing the road, got on the train with their pick- 
axes and shovels. They, too, took seats in a passenger- 
car. I had a copy of Pope's poems, and was trying 
to read " The Essay on Man ; " but almost failed, 
on account of the severity of the sun. However, a 
gentleman in the car, seeing my condition, took pity 
on me, and, at the next stopping-place, kindly lent me 
his umbrella ; which was no sooner hoisted than it drew 
the attention of the drover at one of the end windows, 
and some of the Irishmen at the other, who set up a 
jolly laugh at my expense. Up to this time, the con- 



372 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

ductor had not called on me for my ticket ; but, as the 
train was nearing the place of my destination, he climbed 
upon the car, came to me, and, holding out his hand, said, 
"I'll take your ticket, sir." — "I have none/ 5 said I. 
" Then, I'll take your fare/' continued he, still holding 
out his hand. " How much is it ? " I inquired. " A dol- 
lar and a quarter/' he replied. " How much do you 
charge those iu the passenger-car?" — "The same/' was 
the response. " Do you think that I will "pay as much 
as those having comfortable seats ? No, sir. I shall 
do no such thing, " said I. " Then," said the conductor, 
"you must get off." — " Stop your train, and I'll get off/' 
I replied. " Do you think I'll stop these cars for you ? " 
" Well," said I, " you can do as you please. I will 
not pay full fare, and ride on a flour-barrel in the hot 
sun." — " Since you make so much fuss about it, give me 
a dollar, and you may go," said the conductor. " I'll do 
no such thing/' I replied. "Why ? Don't you wish to 
pay your fare ? " asked he. " Yes," I replied. " I will 
pay what's right ; but I'll not pay you a dollar for 
riding, on a flour-barrel in the hot sun." — " Then, since 
you feel so terribly bad about it, give me seventy -five 
cents, and I'll say no more about it," said the officer. 
" No, sir : I shall not do it," said I. " What do you mean 
to pay ? " asked he. " How much do you charge per 
hundred for freight ? " I asked. u Twenty-five cents per 
hundred," answered the conductor. " Then I'll pay 
thirty-seven and a-half cents," said I ; " for I weigh one 
hundred and fifty pounds." The astonished man eyed 
me from head to feet ; while the drover and the Irish 
* laborers, who were piled up at each window of the pas- 
senger-car, appeared not a little amused at what they 
supposed to be a muss between the conductor and me. 



caste. 373 

Finally, the officer took a blank account out of his pocket, 
and said, " Give me thirty-seven and a-half cents, and I'll 
set you down as freight." I paid over the money, and 
saw myself duly put among the other goods in the 
freight-car. 

A New- York journal is responsible for the follow- 
ing:— 

" It is not many months since a colored man came to 
this city from abroad. A New- York merchant had been 
in business connection with him for several years ; and 
from that business connection had realized a fortune, 
and felt that he must treat him kindly. When Sunday 
came, he invited him to go to church with him. He 
went ; and the merchant took him into his own pew, near 
the pulpit, in a fashionable church. There was a prom- 
inent member of the church near the merchant, who 
saw this with great amazement. He could not be mis- 
taken : it was a genuine " nigger," and not a counter- 
feit. Midway in his sermon, the minister discovered 
him, and was so confused by it, that he lost his place, 
and almost broke down. 

After service, the man who sat near the merchant went 
to bim, and in great indignation asked, — 

" What does this mean ? " 

"What does what mean?" 

11 That you should bring a nigger into this church ? " 

" It is my pew." 

11 Your pew, is it ? And, because it is your pew, you 
must insult the whole congregation ! " 

•'He is intelligent and well educated," answered the 
merchant. 

" What do I care for that ? He is a niggor ! " 

" But he is a friend of mine." 



374 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

" What of that ? Must you therefore insult the whole 
congregation ? " 

"But he is a Christian, and belongs to the same deno- 
mination.' 7 

" What do I care for that ? Let him worship with his 
nigger Christians." 

" But he is worth five million dollars/ 7 said the mer- 
chant. 

" Worth what ? " 

" Worth five million dollars." 

" For God's sake introduce me to him," was the 
reply." 



CHAPTER XLV. 

SIXTH REGIMENT UNITED-STATES VOLUNTEERS. 

Organization of the Regiment. — Assigned to Hard Work. — Brought un- 
der Fire. — Its Bravery. — Battle before Richmond. — Gallantry of the 
Sixth. — Officers' Testimony. 

The following sketch of the Sixth Regiment United- 
States colored troops was kindly furnished by a gentle- 
man of Philadelphia, but came too late to appear in its 
proper place. 

The Sixth Regiment United-States colored troops was 
the second which was organized at Camp William Penn, 
near Philadelphia, by Lieut.-Col. Louis Wagner, of the 
Eighty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers. The regiment 
left Philadelphia on the 14th of October, 1863, with 
nearly eight hundred men, and a full complement of offi- 
cers, a large majority of whom had been in active ser- 
vice in the field. 

The regiment reported to Major-Gen. B. P. Butler, at 
Fortress Monroe, and were assigned to duty at York- 
town, Va., and became part of the brigade (afterwards 
so favorably known), under the command of Col. S. A. 
Duncan, Fourth United-States colored troops. Here they 
labored upon the fortifications, and became thoroughly 
disciplined under the tuition of their colonel, John W. 
Ames, formerly captain of the Eleventh. Infantry, United- 
States Army, ably seconded by Lieut.-Col. Royce and Major 
Kiddoo. During the winter, the regiment took a promi- 

375 



376 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

nent part in the several raids made in the direction of 
Richmond, and exhibited qualities that elicited the praise 
of their officers, and showed that they could be fully re- 
lied upon in more dangerous work. 

The regiment was ordered to Camp Hamilton, Vir- 
ginia, in May, 1864; where a division of colored troops 
was formed, and placed under the command of Brig.- 
Gen. Hinks. In the expedition made up the James 
River the same month, under Gen. Butler, this division 
took part. The white troops were landed at Bermuda 
Hundreds. Three regiments of colored men were posted 
at various points along the river. Duncan's brigade 
landed at City Point, where they immediately commenced 
fortifications. The Sixth and Fourth Regiments were 
soon after removed to Spring Hill, within five miles of 
Petersburg. Here they labored night and day upon 
those earthworks, which were soon to be the scene of 
action which was to become historical. The Sixth was 
in a short time left alone, by the removal of the Fourth 
Regiment to another point. 

On the 29th of May, the rebel forces made an assault 
on the picket-line, the enemy soon after attacking in 
strong force, but were unable to drive back the picket- 
line any considerable distance. The Fourth Regiment 
was ordered to the assistance of the Sixth ; but our forces 
were entirely too weak to make it feasible or prudent to 
attack the enemy, who withdrew during the night, hav- 
ing accomplished nothing. 

This was the first experience of the men under actual 
fire, and they behaved finely. When the outer works 
around Petersburg were attacked, June 15, Duncan's 
brigade met the rebels, and did good service, driving 
the enemy before him. We had a number killed and 



SIXTH REGIMENT UNITED-STATES VOLUNTEERS. 377 

wounded in this engagement. The rebels sought shel- 
ter in their main works, which were of the most formida- 
ble character. These defences had been erected by 
the labor of slaves, detailed for the purpose. Our forces 
followed them to their stronghold. The white troops 
occupied the right; and in order to attract the attention 
of the enemy, while these troops were manoeuvring for 
a favorable attacking position, the colored soldiers were 
subject to a most galling fire for several hours, losing a 
number of officers and men. Towards night, the fight com- 
menced in earnest by the troops on the right, who quickly 
cleared their portion of the line : this was followed by the 
immediate advance of the colored troops, the Fourth, 
Fifth, Sixth, and Twenty-second Regiments. In a very 
short time, the rebels were driven from the whole line ; 
these regiments capturing seven pieces of artillery, and 
a number of prisoners. For their gallantry in this action, 
the colored troops received a highly complimentary no- 
tice from Gen. W. H. Smith, in General Orders. 

1 A few hours after entering the rebel works, our sol- 
diers were gladdened by a sight of the veterans of the 
Army of the Potomac, who that night relieved our 
men at the front. A glance at the strong works gave 
the new-comers a better opinion of the fighting qualities 
of the negroes than they had calculated upon ; and a good 
feeling was at once established, that rapidly dispelled 
most of the prejudices then existing against the blacks ; 
and from that time to the close of the war the negro sol- 
dier stood high with the white troops. 

After spending some time at the Bermuda Hundreds, 
the Sixth Regiment was ordered to Dutch Gap, Va., 
where, on the 16th of August, they assisted in driving the 
rebels from Signal Hill ; Gen. Butler, in person, leading 



378 THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REBELLION. 

our troops. The Sixth Regiment contributed its share 
towards completing Butler's famous canal, during which 
time they were often very much annoyed by the rebel 
shells thrown amongst them. The conduct of the men 
throughout these trying scenes reflected great credit 
upon them. On the 29th of September, the regiment oc- 
cupied the advance in the demonstration made by Butler 
that day upon Richmond. The first line of battle was 
formed by the Fourth and Sixth Regiments : the latter 
entered the fight with three hundred and fifteen men, 
including nineteen officers. 

The enemy were driven back from within two miles 
of Deep Bottom, to their works at New-Market Heights: 
the Sixth was compelled to cross a small creek, and then 
an open field. They were met by a fearful fire from the 
rebel works, men fell by scores : still the regiment went 
forward. The color-bearers, one after another, were 
killed or wounded, until, the entire color-guard were 
swept from the field. Two hundred and nine men, 
and fourteen officers, were killed and wounded. Few 
fields of battle showed greater slaughter than this ; and 
in no conflict did both officers and men prove them- 
selves more brave. Capts. York and Sheldon and Lieut. 
Meyer were killed close to the rebel works. Lieuts. 
Pratt, Landon, and McEvoy subsequently died of the 
wounds received. Lieut. Charles Fields, Company A, 
was killed on the skirmish line : this left the company 
in charge of the first sergeant, Richard Carter, of Phil- 
adelphia, who kept it in its advanced position through- 
out the day, commanding with courage and great ability, 
attracting marked attention for his officer-like bearing. 
During the battle many instances of unsurpassed brave- 
ry were shown by the common soldier, which proved 



SIXTH REGIMENT UNITED.STATES VOLUNTEERS. 379 

that these heroic men were fighting for the freedom of 
their race, and the restoration of a Union that should 
protect man in his liberty without regard to color. No 
regiment did more towards extinguishing prejudice 
against the negro than the patriotic Sixth. 

" And thus are AfVic's injured sons 
The oppressor's scorn abating, 
And to the world's admiring gaze 
Their manhood vindicating." 

The writer regrets that he cannot remember all those 
whose good conduct in this our last battle deserves hon- 
orable mention. It may not, however, be invidious to 
mention the names remembered. These are, Sergt.- 
Major Hawkins, Sergt. Jackson, Company B (since de- 
ceased) ; Sergts. Ellesberry, Kelley, Terry, and Car- 
ter. All of these, as well as a number of others, were 
capable of filling positions as commissioned officers. 

Several of the enlisted men received medals for gal- 
lantry, and were mentioned in General Orders by Major- 
Gen. Butler. The works which the Sixth Regiment 
attempted to take at such fearful cost of life were in a 
short time taken at the point of the bayonet by another 
brigade of colored troops. Had these latter been pres- 
ent to aid in the first attack, it would have saved many 
valuable lives ; for the force was entirely too weak for 
the object. When the Sixth Regiment was finally paid 
off at Philadelphia, at the close of the Rebellion, the offi- 
cers held a farewell meeting at the Continental Hotel ; 
and the following resolutions were adopted as expressive 
of their appreciation of the conduct of the troops under 
their command : — 

" 1. Resolved, That, in our intercourse with them dur- 



380 ' SIXTH REGIMENT UNITED-STATES VOLUNTEERS. 

ing the past two years, they have shown themselves to 
be brave, reliable, and efficient as soldiers ; patient to en 
dure, and prompt to execute. 

" 2. That, being satisfied with their conduct in the 
high position of -soldiers of the United States, we see no 
reason why they should not be fully recognized as equals, 
honorable and responsible citizens of the same." 

From the commencement of the enlistment of colored 
troops, to the close of the war, there were engaged in 
active service one hundred and sixty-nine thousand six 
hundred and twenty-four colored men..